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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

A Novel
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (99 ratings)
Non-member price: $32.89
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Publisher's Summary

From Taylor Jenkins Reid, "a genius when it comes to stories about life and love" (Redbook), comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress' relentless rise to the top - the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump-start her career.

Summoned to Evelyn's Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late '80s and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn's life unfolds - revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love - Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn's story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique's own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid's signature talent for "creating complex, likable characters" (Real Simple), this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means - and what it takes - to face the truth.

©2017 Rabbit Reid, Inc. All rights reserved. (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Loved it

Loved this story and couldn't put it down or stop listening. Brilliant narrator, really can't fault this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Hollywood Yarn

this was an enjoyable easy listen and a good story with flawed honest relatable characters

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What a great read

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the flawed & driven character of Evelyn & it certainly wasn't at all what I expected. Narration of this book was excellent.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Fell short

The core theme of the story isn't mentioned in the blurb so my expectations vs the reality of the book were vastly different. It could have been positioned better as the whole time I was wondering when it would become the book I thought I'd bought. The story was fine but predictable and the key characters unlikable.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Georgina
  • 22-07-2017

Captured once again

I have to admit that I'm once captured by a Taylor Jenkins Reid books...the story was captivated and real and strong...i wanna to cry for Evelyn, her life and the ones she loves...Is beautifully written and addictive...
The narrative and the narrators are just perfect..

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Dubi
  • 31-12-2017

Five Out of Seven Ain't Bad

Evelyn Hugo was a bombshell movie star in the 1950s and 60s whose career as a celebrity carried on past her prime as an actress. An amalgam of real-life stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, and bits of pieces of others, Evelyn Hugo used her physical attributes and street smarts to get to the top, stay on top (mostly), and get back on top when she fell into decline.

A master manipulator who made no bones about it, she knew how to use everyone around her to get her way -- producers, directors, fellow actors, Hollywood media, even neighbors, and most especially her husbands. And to keep her secrets. Even in her last days, in the present day, when she has recused herself from the limelight, Evelyn manipulates the media to reveal her most closely held secrets.

This is without question a fun book. If you like movies, especially the glamorous era in which Evelyn Hugo rose to stardom, this is manna from heaven. You'll be guessing throughout the proceedings as to who Evelyn represents in real life, who the people around her might have been in real life. And you'll even get some thematic depth on a couple of currently relevant topics in addition to the potboiler of a plot.

For me personally, the story faltered slightly in two ways. After a flawless first two-thirds, the last third grew repetitive, as Evelyn started making the same mistakes again. The first four or five husbands were (collectively) a great story, the last couple-three husbands were kind of a shrug. The final reveal perks things up again, but by then the book is just about over.

The other problem is the very thematic depth that makes the book more than just a mindless beach read. In the two main areas of interest (not going to give them away), I was nagged by how Evelyn dealt with them -- one by hiding her her in the sand to protect her career, the other by taking advantage of a situation that many would find heinous to further her fortunes. In addition, there were prominent issues of the era, within the film business and in the world at large, that are virtually ignored.

But that's probably just me -- if you like this kind of thing, you'll love this.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda Skowronski
  • 29-07-2017

Wonderful Read!!

Very complicated character with many faults & bad traits yet you can't help but love & feel sorry for her at the same time.
Shed a few tears during the course of the story.....
First time I've read this author but not the last!

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Mia
  • 29-07-2017

Taken to Hollywood and never wanted to return!

There aren't words enough to describe how much I loved this audiobook. It hasn't been this difficult for me to put one down in forever, and even as I wasn't listening, I was still thinking of the story and its characters, wondering where it was all leading and what would come next. Alma Cuervo's voice fit perfectly as Evelyn, and as she told the tales of her life, I was enthralled. This book has been the highlight of my reading summer, and I would recommend it to anyone fascinated by Old Hollywood.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Dorothy
  • 13-07-2017

Representative of Trendy Writing

I understand that many have been enthralled by this book. I was not one of those people. I found the reading formulaic and in the Gone Girl genre, a sort of 21st century laziness that troubles me. It was very "up to date" in its subject matter. It follows the almost required plot line that new television and movies are gravitating to. The author has wisely gone with this flow for ease of publication. All I can say is this: I recently listened to The Age of Innocence, Rebecca, The Sympathizer, The French Lieutenant's Woman and Atonement, so this probably accounts for my low rating. The lowest I have ever given. I do not recommend this book to those who seek more craft from their authors.

45 of 57 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicole
  • 28-07-2017

First book in a long time that I just couldn't put down!!

Wow! Such a nuanced story that kept surprising me until the very end. By the time the book was over, I felt so attached to these characters that I cried.

Found this book by following a narrator I loved from a previous audiobook - Gone Girl narrated by Julia Whelan. I think the great narration was a huge part of why I truly enjoyed listening to this book as well. Might start searching this way from now on!

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Armchair critic
  • 10-07-2017

Supreme storyline

The only thing about this book that didn't ring true was the fact it was fiction. It was very interesting from beginning to end. It has a real kicker at the end. You'll never see it coming. It's worth more than one listen.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-08-2017

Uneven but good

This was a slow start, and frantic finish but the majority was even paced and very interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen J. Seaman
  • 14-07-2017

loved it

I absolutely loved this book!!!. When I wasn't listening to it, I was thinking about it. And when I was listening to it, I never wanted to turn it off. It's a great story about being human and the relationships and choices we encounter throughout life. It is definitely a book based on getting to know the characters very well

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • MA Reviewer
  • 26-06-2017

Seven Husbands Too Long

What would have made The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo better?

Plot was shallow and predictable.I cheated. After husband #2, I fast-forwarded to the very predictable ending of the book.I am a huge fan of this author and this book received excellent reviews. Perhaps my expectations were too high.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Mary Kubica's new book.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

I always like it when there are multiple narrators. All of the narrators were excellent. Julia Whelan is one of my favorite narrators and I always enjoy her books.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

1) Snore, snore, snore. Impatience. I wanted it to be over.
2) Anger because I wasted my time.
3) Disappointment because I was soooo looking forward to another book by this author.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Maya Connell
  • 27-09-2018

I’m in love

I’m in love with this book...
I didn’t realise it was an LGBTQ+ novel before I purchased it, I’m Bisexual myself so identified with a number of points in this book on that topic. I am always in the lookout for more stories which are about more then sex for LGBTQ+ women,so this was a spectacular find. It’s in my top 5 book right now... I really am in love... Thank you, Thank you, to Taylor Jenkins Reid for writing this!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Louise loves books
  • 12-06-2018

OMG

This book is incredible and made me cry. A million stars. I will be buying the paperback of this book just so I can read the gorgeous words that Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote. Thank you for creating this book Taylor.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stella
  • 22-01-2019

I was so hooked, I had my earphones at all times

Although 2019 has only started, I can safely pronounce this book will be one of my favourites of the year - because it is already one of the best books I've read in years. It is incredibly engrossing and beautifully written (and narrated). I've gone into this book expecting a lot, having seen it absolutely everywhere since it came out and followed only by great reviews. And I was not let down. Evelyn Hugo is an Old Hollywood movie icon, she's gorgeous, she's a sex symbol (and she knows how to use it), she's ambitious, manipulative, so much smarter than she'll ever let you know, ruthless and unappologetic, and she will do everything to get what she wants. And now, at the end of her life she is telling the story of her scandalous life, all dirty detail included. Apart from Evelyn's point of view, the story is also told through the eyes of Monique Grant, a journalist Evelyn picked to write her biography. Monique herself is a biracial woman, recently separated and in front of an impending divorce, trying to climb her way up in the magazine she's working for. She is supposed to be objective, impersonal, but she finds herself learning from Evelyn, judging her, admiring her and hating her. The story deals with content that is not always easy to deal with, it talks about prostitution (in a form), alcoholism, domestic abuse, cheating, lgbtq+ rights and homophobia, racism, betrayal, but also love, friendship, the glamour of old Hollywood... and so much more. It is one of the most diverse and best minority-represented novels I have ever read. I dont even want to say too much because I dont have the words except READ THIS BOOK.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • LWaugh
  • 06-07-2017

Brilliantly written and performed

I loved this from beginning to end. Evelyn and Monique are brilliant, very real characters. The book is extremely entertaining while exploring all the complexities involved with being a woman. Highly recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jamie
  • 01-03-2019

Compelling

This is not at all the sort of book I usually pick up, but several friends insisted it was worth the read & I am SO glad I listened to them! The story of a film star from the Hollywood golden days, it shows the seedier side of the film industry and yet still somehow oozes glamour. Evelyn's total unapologeticness for the choices she made and the person she was (and is) was the strongest aspect of her as a character and made her story so totally compelling it was hard to put the earphones down!

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  • V Nerd (Kermit), Reviews by Audio Killed the Bookmark
  • 21-12-2018

6 Timeless beauty Stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 6 Timeless Beauty Stars

I kept seeing this book pop up everywhere and everyone is loving it, so, even though it is not my usual type of story, i jumped in without reading the blurb.

This book deserves ALL of the hype and then some!!

I cannot recommend this book of perfection enough, honestly, it is just so beautiful.

Evelyn Hugo is an icon to a lot of people, she was the style icon for women and men around the world, Women wanted to look like her, and men wanted to bed her, and lots did.

She was Hollywood's 50's glamour girl, a movie star, a sex symbol - think Marilyn Monroe / Jayne Mansfield / Elizabeth Taylor.

When budding journalist Monique gets a call at work for her to visit Evelyn, well she jumps at the chance just like anyone would.

The request is for Monique... JUST Monique, but why her?

Deciding that she wants Monique to write her memoirs, Evelyn then tells us the story of her rise in Hollywood, and the thing that everyone wants to know, out of her 7 husbands, who was the greatest love of her life?

This gets answered in spades and we learn a hell of a lot about Evelyn, sometimes, not so good things about her.

We learn about her using her strengths *cough* Boobs *cough* to get herself ahead in the business, we learn about her actually falling in love and who with, we learn about an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love.

We learn that, even though Hollywood is this glamorous place that we all seem to view through rose tinted glasses, it actually is a place that strips you of your own self, your heritage, your name, even the people who you are "supposed" to be in love with.

Oh how I cried reading/listening to this, by the time you have read to near the end of the book, Evelyn feels like a real person, i even googled her because i thought that she was an old Hollywood actress (spoiler, she isn't)

🎧🎧 - Narrated by the always wonderful Julia Whelan and 2 new-to-me narrators Alma Cuervo and Robin Miles, this was one of the best books i have listened to in a long long time.

If you really want to read something that is going to become a best BEST seller, and i have absolutely no doubt a movie for sure, then you should pick up this stunning piece of gorgeousness.

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  • BethB
  • 22-10-2018

A stunning read that will stay with me

This book was mind-blowing, I devoured it and I loved every second. The author made me feel like I was there every step of the way with Evelyn on her journey. Reading this as an audiobook made me feel even more involved, it was a very enjoyable reading experience.

In my opinion, this synopsis does not do the book justice. The plot is constantly changing and developing and evolving with new angels. I went from laughter to tears with this book. The characters are superb, I fell in love with pretty much most of them, especially Evelyn, Harry and Celia. Being able to follow their lives and careers over many years made me feel way more invested in them than when you just know a character for a few months of their life.

We are taken through Evelyn’s life in this book, from her rise to fame to her elderly years. I didn’t expect to go on such a rollercoaster and come out feeling like I had learnt something from this book. The character of Evelyn was a confident one, someone who knew how to get what she wanted and priorities her needs. She is a strong and powerfully willed character and I certainly took away some things from her.

I loved hearing about her career and her fame in the 50’s onwards. I’ve seen films from this time, but never have I really appreciate what it was like for the stars of them. Fame now seems to be so much easier to find and retain, but for Evelyn she had to work her way up and do things she shouldn’t have had to do to secure her spot. At this time in Hollywood actresses were regularly reused again and again for films year on year, so it was immensely important to stay in the spotlight. I’ve never read about this era before and it’s certainly given me an interest in watching more films from this time.

This is a book I will always keep in my head, for both it’s excellent storytelling, but also the message it sends. The need to be yourself, to be sure of who you are and to do the very best for you. I am so glad I read this and I will not hesitate to pick it up again some day.

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  • Emma
  • 20-09-2018

Beautiful book

Not what I expected, brilliant, heartfelt, sad, joyous book. Loved it and was sad when it ended. Perfect narration

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  • Lisa-Marie Harris
  • 13-08-2018

A wonderful story

This was an incredible story. A lovely tale of love & loss in Hollywood. Would highly recommend.