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.

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Book Review | After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Authour:afterido
Taylor Jenkins Reid

Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 334 pages
Publication date:
July 1st 2014
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
There are scores of stories that just end when a couple gets married, leaving the reader to guess what happens after. However, After I Do takes, the less common approach of telling the story of a married couple, Lauren and Ryan, whose marriage is falling apart. Their marriage get so unbearable that the pair decides to separate as they no longer find that they love each other anymore.

And while there may be some books that have similar stories what I like about this book is how it opens up with the couple having a heated argument before jumping to how they met 11 years ago, followed by their wedding and the months that follow up until the present time with a few time skips in between. Fortunately this indicates the start of each chapter so the reader doesn’t get too confused. As a result, we get to witness Lauren and Ryan meeting and falling in love and then falling in love as both start to neglect their relationship once they get married. I found this a clever storytelling tool, and it works well for the type of story the authour is trying to tell.

What I liked about After I Do is that there is no magic solution to their marital problems; the couple is left to their own devices to try and figure things out on their own. Everything they do has consequences, and even their separation affects just more than the couple. There is an excellent scene in the book where Lauren’s brother who has always been close to Ryan ever since Ryan came into Lauren life tells her that she doesn’t own Ryan even though they split up. This was realistic in that it examines the question of what happens to the other relationships when a marriage breaks up, it’s too simplistic to say you’d take the side of your blood family no questions asked. I believe in real life relationships are more complicated and messy and at times family members may end up cherishing those relationships that resulted because of the marriage just as much as their relationship with their own family and it is just as painful if not almost impossible to give those relationships up.

Taylor Jenkins Reid writes family relationships extremely well in After I Do, and her writing also flows nicely. In particular, I like the relationship Lauren has with her family, especially the one she has with her sister, Rachel which made me envious of their closeness. Rachel was also such a refreshing character as you rarely see characters that don’t put much stock in whether or not they end up married and with a family in women fiction. As this is how I also feel about the subject, I loved that I was able to relate to the character of Rachel in that way. Overall, the whole family dynamic in Lauren’s family was so amazing and it was easy to love them, especially her grandmother who was the perfect blend of sweetness, harshness, and hilarity.

After I Do is a book that even if you’re not married you could probably enjoy just as well, as it reminds us the importance of appreciating the people we love and to cherish all the time we have with them.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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