The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
By Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Atria books
Date: 2017
Pages: 391
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Days to Read: 1
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

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.

‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ is the second most recent work by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It was the first of her novels that really took off in terms of hype and popularity particularly on both BookTube and within the bookstagram community.

It was the first book I’d heard of from the author and I can’t say I was instantly intrigued. This was mostly for my lack of desire to read contemporary fiction or historical fiction so I dismissed it as one I wouldn’t enjoy.

I was however proven wrong, my own stubbornness really gets in the way of reading some great books sometimes. Even though ‘Daisy Jones and the Six‘ was the book that really had me eating my words about contemporary fiction, ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ would definitely of had the same effect if I had read it first.

I didn’t feel like I was reading about unrelatable characters in an unrelatable time even with Evelyn Hugo largely following her time in Hollywood from the 1950’s to the 1980’s. The descriptions were so vivid and there was a personal connection with Evelyn that made it feel like it was happening right now.

There are so many topics and movements that are covered throughout ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ including an exploration of sexuality and the laws around gay rights at the time. I really felt for the characters that were being affect by the laws and by extension the real people that lived through that time.

There were so many emotions I experienced through this story. I didn’t really think I was a super emotional reader until this year but apparently I am. I definitely found joy in this story but I also felt genuinely sad at points and may or may not of cried.

I love when stories have the ability to do that, it really shows that as a reader I was connected to these characters.

‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ was an book for the ages. It is one that I believe has the staying power to be in important book for people to read that also gives readers a glimpse into the glamours and the reality of old Hollywood.

Plot: 7/10
Ease of reading: 7/10
Character Development: 8/10
World Building: 8/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10
Stars: 4/5

What did you think if The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo?

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Washington Square Press
Date: 2016
Pages: 352
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Contemporary
Days to Read: 6
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

This year feels like a year where I am really starting to expand on what I enjoy reading, this in turn has meant that I have discovered a slew of new authors as well as a very packed bookshelf.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is definitely one of those new discoveries. I started by bowing to the peer pressure and reading ‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ and honestly that book deserved all the hype it got!

After enjoying it so thoroughly I wanted to read the rest of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s published works. ‘One True Loves’ was the third book I picked up of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s.

One True Loves follows Emma Blair whose husband goes missing when he heads of to Antarctica to help film a nature documentary and the helicopter he is in goes missing. After years of struggling with this loss, Emma runs into Sam, a boy she went to school with and a spark begins to form between the two. Next thing Sam and Emma know Jesse is found, he is not dead as it was believed. This leaves Emma in an impossible situation.

The premise of this book really hooked me. I was intrigued to see, not only how Jesse survived but how the characters would deal with such an impossible situation.

I am going to be honest though, I was a little let down. As much as I enjoyed reading the book, I wouldn’t say it is a master piece or even Taylor Jenkins Reid’s best work. One thing I noted that really bothered me was the continual use of ‘said Sam, said Emma’ when it came to dialogue. I found it a very simple way for the characters to interact.

I did however find snippets I enjoyed. There was an excerpt that I really loved, mostly for its Grey’s Anatomy monologue vibes.

‘I think perhaps everyone has a moment that splits their life in two. When you look back on your own timeline, there’s a sharp spike somewhere along the way, some event that changed you, changed your life, more than others.
A moment that creates a “before” and an “after”.
Maybe it’s when you meet your love or you figure out your life’s passion of you have your first child. Maybe it’s something wonderful. Maybe its something tragic.
But when it happens, it tints your memories, shifts your perspective on your own life, and it suddenly seems as if everything you’ve been through falls under the label of “pre” and “post”‘

I also enjoyed the settings we explored. The bookstore was definitely a favourite and pretty much any part where there was snow.

The characters were ones that I enjoyed reading about but wasn’t super invested it. I did like that the characters changed over time and developed within their personalities, however at some points the growth was sudden. I’m not sure whether this device was used on purpose to explore how both grief and traumatic events change people or rather a progression within the story. Either way it definitely made the characters somewhat more interesting.

The end of the story left me feeling content. I was happy with the choice that Emma made. It was definitely the right one, at least in my opinion.

Overall ‘One True Loves’ is an easy contemporary romance novel with relatively low stakes. It was a fast read that I found kept me engaged within the story.

Plot: 7/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 5/10
World Building: 5/10
Quality of Writing: 3/10
Stars: 2/5

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid Review

Maybe in Another Life
by Taylor Jenkins Ried

Publisher: Washington Square Press
Date: 2015
Pages: 342
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Contemporary
Days to Read: 2
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

Maybe in Another Life is another book I picked up for the N.E.W.T.S. It fulfilled the prompt ‘a paperback’ for an Outstanding in Charms.

in ‘Maybe in Another Life’ we follow Hannah as she moves home after living in New York. Once home she decides to head out with her friend, who is is staying with, while out for a drink they run into Hannah’s ex boyfriend. From there the story takes two paths, what if Hannah stayed out with Ethan – her Ex – and what if she went home with Gabby?

Following the two story lines we see what could of happened in another life.

Hannah is a character that I don’t really have an opinion on. As much as I love Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing I just didn’t really care what happened to Hannah mostly because it didn’t feel like we knew that much about her that was really important as a main character. We learn that she’s curvy, loves cinnamon rolls and always has her hair in a bun an thats it. I found it hard to really feel how she would feel and really want to see what decisions she was going to make

I did enjoy many of the side characters. Gabby for one, is a feminist and a woman of colour and had real depth, she really would have made the story if her character had been given more time within the plot.

The two different perspectives was something different. I have not yet picked up a book that uses this literary tool. Ultimately I wanted to see where each story line was going which is exactly what kept me reading.

If you like a contemporary I think you would enjoy ‘Maybe in Another Life’ however if you are looking for a literary masterpiece you may not enjoy it as much.

Plot: 8/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 5.5/10
World Building: 6/10
Quality of Writing:6/10
Stars: 3.5/5

What is your favourite Taylor Jenkins Reid book?

Review: ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ By Taylor Jenkins Reid

‘Daisy Jones & The Six’

Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Hutchinson
Date: 2019
Pages: 368
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Contemporary
Days to Read: 14
Purchase Locations: Amazon & Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now. They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed. Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin. 

Of all the books that I could of picked up to listen to I cannot for the life of me tell you why I chose ‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ By Taylor Jenkins Reid. Contemporaries aren’t usually my thing, I mostly read fantasy and science fiction, but boy am I glad that some little part of my brain thought Daisy Jones was a good idea because it was in fact an EXCELLENT idea!

“We love beautiful broken people”

If you don’t know already ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ is written as an interview with the reader reading from the interviewers point of view. We follow the interviewer as they discover how Daisy Jones joined The Six and how and why the group broke up.

The depth of these characters feel like something from a series that is in its seventh book. There is so much to each character not one of them is a throw away opinion from a two dimensional character they all add so much to the story. Daisy by far was the one I was most eager to read about. She seemed to embody the 70’s and everything about it. I honestly couldn’t get enough.

If I could ask for anything from this book it would be for MORE! I loved that we got to experience what the band experienced. From touring to recording and what all that might of been like. It definitely have me CBGB vibes.

‘Dream big little bird’

‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ is an absolute experience, listening to the audiobook was utterly immersive. I cannot wait to listen again!

Plot: 9.5/10
Ease of reading: 10/10
Character Development: 9/10
World Building: 9/10
Quality of Writing: 9/10
Stars: 5/5

Any other Taylor Jenkins Reid recommendations would be appreciated

Weekly Reading Update: Daisy Jones and The Six

Once again we are back with another reading update!

This week we are taking about everything Poetry and Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and oh boy oh boy…