Book Review | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Authour:
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
June 13th 2017
Publisher:
Atria Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’m no stranger to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, but The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was something completely different from her usual books. Normally, Reid’s books are either a hit or miss with me however, as soon as I started The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo I was immediately obsessed!

It’s difficult to not to be captivated by the titular “Evelyn Hugo”, the daughter of Cuban immigrants, who transformed herself from a young girl living in poverty with an alcoholic father to the blonde bombshell that dominates Hollywood. And while Evelyn is far from perfect, it made me love her even more. She is unapologetic, even in her old age, and she is as fierce as she is resourceful. Even if you’re not into old Hollywood stories, Reid manages to weave an amazingly enchanting story that draws you into the world of the “Golden Age” of Hollywood with all its glitz, glamour and scandals.

While The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo does examine personal relationships similar to Reid’s earlier novels, it is not just a love story. Rather the “seven husbands” are as Evelyn says “just husbands”, it’s truly Evelyn that’s the real star after all it’s her story. There is however loads of heart and soul in her life story, and I love how the character of Monique was able to grow as a result of being the (chosen) person who is recording the life story of Evelyn Hugo.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the perfect beach read. It’s delightfully juicy and incredibly engrossing making it almost impossible to put down. And the author does such an amazing job of creating the character of “Evelyn Hugo” that it’s difficult to believe that she was not a real life figure. Regardless of how we feel about the titular character, I think readers will feel just as Monique did in that in the end, that we have all been blessed to have been given the gift of becoming acquainted with the life of Evelyn Hugo.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

JPloveAuthour:
Isabel Allende
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 322 pages
Publication date:
November 3rd 2015
Publisher:
Atria Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
As this was my first Isabel Allende novel, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, the synopsis of The Japanese Lover made me somewhat inclined to pick it up as I love an excellent love story and I do enjoy reading historical fiction. What I ended up with mixed feelings regarding the book as a whole.

At the beginning, The Japanese Lover drew me into the story. I loved the setting, and felt connected to Irina. Yet after the first chapter, the book took an unexpected turn and the book sort of became weird after that. Overall, I felt that the story jumped around a great deal, which apparently is common in the authour’s other novels. One disadvantage of this was that we don’t truly become acquainted with Irina or witness much of her relationship with Seth. To be honest, I didn’t buy their relationship as it appeared to be extremely one-sided relationship in my opinion. On the other hand, I did enjoy Alma’s back story in addition to the love story of her and Ichimei which had several incredibly sweet moments. And those flashbacks were probably what drew me back to the book time and time again, as I loved seeing Alma’s journey and how she grew into the person she is in the present day. Against the story of Alma and her complicated relationship with her wealthy relatives, it was also fascinating to glimpse a bit of what life inside a Japanese internment camp was like, and how under such harsh and trying circumstance the people you wouldn’t expect are the ones who are able to rise up and become stronger individuals.

In the last part, while Alma’s story does receive some measure of closure, everything else is left unresolved as the ending of the book was rather abrupt. Nevertheless, the second half of the book was still definitely an improvement over than the majority of the first half. And while I did enjoy the historical aspect of The Japanese Lover and its exploration of class, culture and discrimination in addition as the various touching and heartwarming moments sprinkled throughout the book, the shaky pacing and timing on top of the rough transitions between present day events and the past led me to not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.