The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo had been sitting on my bedside table ever since I finished Daisy Jones and the Six. Daisy Jones had really enthused me about the writing of Taylor Jenkins Reid and I wanted more. The weird thing is, that once I bought this book, I let it languish. I had looked it up online and the reviews were good, but could it really compare? Somehow I doubted it. Daisy Jones had been too clever an idea, too engaging for anything else to be as good. I began to worry that maybe, in the way that her previous book had been loosely based on Fleetwood Mac, this might be based on Zsa Zsa Gabor and her multiple marriages.
As I started to read it, several months later, I found myself a little disappointed at first. The story was good and the writing even better, but it was just another story about Hollywood and it didn’t feel special in the way that Nina Revoyr’s The Age of Dreaming had, just a few weeks before. However, in the way you keep watching a decent movie, so too did I keep with this novel and thank goodness I did, for about a quarter of the way in, the book changed into something different. I’m not saying that it was shocking, so much as pleasantly unexpected.
Evelyn Hugo is one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars and something of a curiosity. Now in her seventies and having been married seven times, Hugo decides to auction off some of her wardrobe to support charity. Vivant magazine is offered an exclusive, but Hugo specifies that the piece must be written by a little known writer named Monique Grant. Grant herself is somewhat bemused by the choice, but agrees to the challenge, due to the publicity it will bring. Like the public at large, Grant wants a specific story. She wants to know why Hugo married seven times and who her favorite husband was? When she meets Hugo, it becomes clear that the actress has something entirely different in mind. Not an article, but a book, to be written by Grant and potentially worth millions. The question then becomes; why Monique Grant?
This is a good, easy to read novel and it’s easy to turn the pages and spend the days engaged. That said, it didn’t quite have the ‘x factor’ of Daisy Jones and The Six, meaning that if I was made to choose one of the two, or even if I was asked which I would remember longer, I’d have to say invest in Daisy Jones. No question.