Top critical review
Light and entertaining read
27 January 2018
I am not the sort of person who follows tabloids to keep up with all the latest gossip from Hollywood, and half of the time don’t know one celebrity from another, so when The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo started to pop up on my Goodreads feed I didn’t think it would be a book I would enjoy. However, the book kept appearing all over social media, with raving reviews everywhere I looked, and a divinely beautiful cover that was very alluring. In the end curiosity won me over and I couldn’t resist!
Evelyn certainly is an intriguing character – even living-under-a-rock little me could see the resemblance to several Hollywood legends. A rags-to-riches background; a blonde, curvaceous and sensual bombshell; a 1950’s glamour girl; a shrewd career woman who acquires and discards husbands quicker than cars; a woman hiding a secret that could destroy her career. I’m sure a few famous names instantly pop into your head reading this (if I can name a few, anyone can). Then there are the seven husbands, and we all know of someone like that as well, don’t we? I was thoroughly intrigued by getting a glimpse behind the scenes of old Hollywood through Evelyn’s eyes, warts and all. Of course, the glamour and the cheesy smiles for the camera hide the more disturbing truths of making it big in Hollywood, as Evelyn will soon find out. Even though she seems like quite a force to be reckoned with, there is a part of Evelyn she cannot show the world, and this makes her vulnerable. And here is where I felt Evelyn’s character let me down a bit, because this vulnerability, which should have endeared her to me, didn’t always come through for me. I sometimes felt like there was a strong political agenda to Evelyn’s story, and whilst some of its elements were interesting and eye-opening, I felt that it always kept me at arm’s length from peering into the very heart of Evelyn’s character. Even the agony of being separated from her “true love” sometimes felt a bit – shall I say contrived? Is that too harsh? I much preferred the Evelyn who shrewdly plans her next husband like someone shopping for an accessory, as this was so much more believable for the formidable character she represented. Here is a women who knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to use her assets to go and get it!
As for Monique – unfortunately she features only very peripherally, providing the media through which Evelyn’s story is being told, and the big plot twist binding the two women together was quite obvious to me. Personally, I think she lacked oomph, and despite pointing out several times that she was “biracial”, this fact added nothing to her character, again making me feel that there was a bit of an agenda here that didn’t fully reach its potential.
Overall, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a well-written, light and entertaining read that took me out of my usual genre. I really enjoyed the Hollywood setting, which provided an interesting backdrop to this intriguing character, even though other parts of the book fell a little bit flat for me.