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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Aging and reclusive Hollywood legend Evelyn Hugo chooses unknown journalist Monique Grant to write her tell-all biography. Finally the world will know of Evelyn’s driving ambition, rise to fame, a forbidden love, and, of course, her seven husbands. But the star has a secret agenda that involves Monique, who will be forever changed by the experience.

Discussion Guide

Author Biography

Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of the New York Times Bestselling novels Carrie Soto Is Back, Malibu RisingDaisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, as well as One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. Her books have been chosen by Reese’s Book Club, Read with Jenna, Indie Next, Best of Amazon, and Book of the Month. Her novel, Daisy Jones and The Six, is currently being adapted by Hello Sunshine into a limited series for Amazon. She lives in Los Angeles. - Author's website

More Titles By This Author


Kirkus Reviews

An aging starlet with seven marriages behind her generously offers the rights to her memoir to an inexperienced writer—at a heartbreaking cost. Monique Grant is stunned when Hollywood legend Evelyn Hugo grants an exclusive interview to her over more seasoned journalists, but when she's also chosen to publish Evelyn's final confessions after her death, she learns that the 79-year-old actress has enough life experience for them both. Growing up poor in Hell's Kitchen, young Evelyn Herrera trades her virginity for a ride to Hollywood, changes her name, and climbs the rungs of the entertainment-industry ladder one husband at a time until she hits Oscar gold. To write her off as being calculating and fickle would leave out the difficulty of being a woman, especially a woman of color, trying to get by in the late 1950s without a man's blessing. Evelyn plays up her bombshell figure and hides her Cuban roots by dying her hair blonde—the first of many lies she'll have to te ll over the course of her life to prove to the world that she deserves her place in the spotlight. She's unapologetically ambitious but not without remorse. Which of her seven husbands was her true love? Why did she choose Monique to tell her story? Evelyn recounts her failures and triumphs in chronological order, one husband at a time, with a few breaks for Monique to report back to her editor. The celebrity tell-all style is a departure from Reid's (One True Loves, 2016, etc.) previous books, but Evelyn Hugo is a character who can demand top billing. When asked if it bothers her that "all anyone talks about when they talk about you are the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo," she says no: "Because they are just husbands. I am Evelyn Hugo." Reid's heroine reveals her darkest secrets as if she were wiping off makeup at the end of the night—a celebration of human frailty that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.


Reid (One True Loves, 2016) knows how to tug at heart strings with unusual tales of finding real and lasting love. Here she goes in a different direction, evoking emotion in all new ways. Former Hollywood A-lister Evelyn Hugo is finally going public with the story of her seven husbands, ready to reveal the love of her life, so she calls in journalist Monique Grant to write her coveted biography. Stunned and thrilled to be given such a big project, Monique begins recording Evelyn’s secrets, but she soon wonders if Evelyn’s past comes closer to her own than she’d realized, and the reveal of Evelyn’s great love may not be Evelyn’s only surprise. Much of the novel is in Evelyn’s voice, narrating her story to Monique with inflection and dialogue in a way that doesn’t feel quite realistic. Yet this is a minor flaw when the reader is so captivated by old Hollywood glamour, intriguing and complex characters, and Reid’s unsurpassed ability to leave her audience reaching for a hankie. An utterly unique take on what truly makes a family. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal

Adored movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell her story, and does she have a story to tell. Born to Cuban immigrants in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, Evelyn remade herself into a classic Hollywood beauty, marrying seven men along the way. First there was Eddie, the man who brought her to Los Angeles; then there was Don, an abuser; then Mick; and then Rex—but everyone knows that the true love of her life was Harry Cameron, who had been with her through thick and thin. But as Monique, her biographer, uncovers more of her past, she finds that the heart of Evelyn's love life doesn't involve men at all. Willing to use her looks and her body to advance her career, Evelyn may know that some of her actions were wrong, but she doesn't feel any guilt for her past. VERDICT Jenkins (One True Loves) has crafted another tale sure to appeal to fans of women's fiction, Susan Meissner, and Beatriz Williams.—Jennifer Mills, Shorewood-Troy Lib., IL Copyright 2017 Library Journal.


Siren Queen
by Nghi Vo

It was magic. In every world, it was a kind of magic.

“No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill—but she doesn't care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.

But in Luli's world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes—even if that means becoming the monster herself.

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post
by Allison Pataki

Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweather Post lived an epic life few could imagine.

Marjorie’s journey began gluing cereal boxes in her father’s barn as a young girl. No one could have predicted that C. W. Post’s Cereal Company would grow into the General Foods empire and reshape the American way of life, with Marjorie as its heiress and leading lady. Not content to stay in her prescribed roles of high-society wife, mother, and hostess, Marjorie dared to demand more, making history in the process. Before turning thirty she amassed millions, becoming the wealthiest woman in the United States. But it was her life-force, advocacy, passion, and adventurous spirit that led to her stunning legacy.

And yet Marjorie’s story, though full of beauty and grandeur, set in the palatial homes she built such as Mar-a-Lago, was equally marked by challenge and tumult. A wife four times over, Marjorie sought her happily-ever-after with the blue-blooded party boy who could not outrun his demons, the charismatic financier whose charm turned to betrayal, the international diplomat with a dark side, and the bon vivant whose shocking secrets would shake Marjorie and all of society. Marjorie did everything on a grand scale, especially when it came to love.

City of Girls
by Elizabeth Gilbert

In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves - and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.

Now eighty-nine years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life - and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. "At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time," she muses. "After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is." Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.