Cover Image: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid ~ 4.5 Stars

Okay so this book is very different from what I read of this author from the past.  This feels more like an autobiography of sort as it tells a story of an aging classic film actress and her journey from the time she was growing up in NY until now.

The story is told in dual point of view – Evelyn’s present and past time and Monique’s view on interviewing Evelyn.  After a life time in Hollywood, Evelyn Hugo is ready to do a tell all about her glamorous and scandalous life.  She chose and unknown reporter Monique Grant for the job.  This part is quite interesting and unexpected – there is a mysterious connection between Evelyn and Monique and their life intersects in a way … Why had Evelyn chose in an unknown reporter?  Monique’s life is a mess and she is more than ready to use this opportunity to boost her career.  Is that all? You will have to read and see. 

Sitting in Evelyn’s apartment, Monique listens to Evelyn’s life story unfolds through decades.  Evelyn Hugo growing up in NY.  Her childhood is not a happy one.  Evelyn always has big dream that she would someday get out the hell hole and become a star and that’s exactly what she did.  Using her good-look she did what she had to do to rise to the top – it wasn’t pretty.  Along the way, she went through seven husbands.  Evelyn story’s is quite heartbreaking.  Hollywood life isn’t all glamour and sunshine, it’s cutthroat, heartbreak, sacrifice, unapologetic, ruthless, ugly and quite fascinating.  

Taylor Reid has an amazing way of storytelling – real, honest, emotional, addictive.  The story of Evelyn is captivating but it’s the writing that hooked you in from beginning until the end.  There is romance woven in this book but it is more of a women fiction – Evelyn’s life difficult journey and how she uses it to help Monique.  The ending is epic – emotional, moving, heartfelt.  TJR is my go to author I am no surprised at all she once again given us another flawless, fantastic novel.
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Can I buy the rights???  Seriously, is anyone making a movie out of this book???  I NEED this to be on the big screen.  The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is one of my favorite reads of the year.  It has everything you could want - drama, romance, loss, humor, feminism, politics, death - and it is wrapped up in the glossy world of an almost fictional Hollywood.

On its surface, the book is an E! True Hollywood Story of a famous actress, albeit one with more depth and information than any celebrity would actually give.  But deep down this book is about a woman who struggles to come from poverty and make something of herself, no matter the cost to others.  Although Evelyn makes choices in her life that are selfish or cunning, the reader truly feels her struggle and understands why certain sacrifices have to be made.

There is also the story of Monique, the journalist selected to write Evelyn's story, a divorcee as well, trying to learn how to traverse life alone.  Why does Evelyn choose her??  How does Evelyn even know who she is?  The lives of these two women seem to be worlds apart, but that doesn't mean that there is a connection, or that they don't have things to learn from each other.

The book is so well written, I had to keep reminding myself I couldn't look Evelyn up to see her clothes!  Taylor Jenkins Reid does a beautiful job creating this woman and the world she lives in.  Everything was so vivid.  Because the book spans the decades of a woman's life, the reader gets to live through glamorous Old Hollywood all the way through present day.

I was Really Into this book.  What I thought was going to be a light, guilty pleasure read was really a story of a woman doing what she had to do to make in her world - and doing it almost unapologetically.  It was really much more than I anticipated and I love when books surprise me like that.  Now let's get this movie made!
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4.5 stars maybe? Maybe just 4. 

I wasn't nearly as enthralled with this as I was hoping I would be; to be fair, it has been fairly hyped up on social media, so it had a slim chance of living up to my expectations. 

My main issue with the book was Reid's insistence on telling, not showing. Every little detail must be described ad nauseam before a scene can begin: characters' physical attributes, what they're wearing, every piece of furniture, the sunlight, the temperature -- no detail is too minute or too insignificant for Reid to wax rhapsodic about for a full page before anything remotely plot-related occurs. I can understand a couple of introductory paragraphs to set the scene, but this meticulous inventory happens in every. single. scene. 

There are a few plot twists to keep this from feeling like a standard Old Hollywood fictitious tell-all; one was pretty surprising, but I felt that the two toward the end were pretty well telegraphed.
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an usual read.  It was very entertaining read.  This title was different from my usual picks but well the time.
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I can't decide if I want to be the illustrious Evelyn Hugo or the creative Taylor Jenkins Reid!! I was caught up in this world and didn't want the whirlwind to end. I feel like I was given a glimpse of a Hollywood star. I was asking myself do you get lucky breaks in Hollywood or do you have to have what it takes? What drives people in the limelight? Is it the fame or the money or the overall knowledge of "I MADE IT!". Why are their lives so complicated and sometimes so devastating that it seems unreal? Ms. Reid took a very sensitive topic and turned it into a epic love story. A wonderful, at times gut wrenching, incredible, believable love story. Savor every word!
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"Never let anyone make you feel ordinary."

I'm so pleasantly surprised by this book. I knew the summary but I didn't know how thrilling it was going to be, what direction the story would take, and the beauty, complexity, and truths of the mysterious woman it's centered around.

Actress Evelyn Hugo, born Evelyn Elena Herrera, the daughter of Cuban immigrants and born in Hell's Kitchen, fought tooth and nail to rise to stardom and then to legendary status over the years. She captivated Hollywood with her beauty and ability to steal the scene in every motion picture she was in. She's also notorious for her seven marriages throughout her life. But then you learn that maybe the story we "know" about Evelyn isn't the whole story. And maybe the Evelyn the world knows isn't the real Evelyn at all.

Evelyn decides she wants to get the story straight in her old age and enlists unknown writer Monique Grant with a deal of a lifetime to help. And so she tells her full life story. We go through two different timelines, starting from the beginning of Evelyn's own story in the 1950s and the present in 2017 with Monique interviewing Evelyn. Throughout the story, Monique forms a kind of bond with Evelyn but wonders why her, of all people? And it seems clear that there is something that connects them but what could it be?

We learn about Evelyn's career, struggles, decisions, ambitions, friendships, regrets, vulnerabilities, and the best part of the story: her great love. Evelyn is such an interesting character and I really liked getting to know her. No, she's not exactly the most moral person but she owns up to it and her choices and I gotta admire that. She's independent, ruthless, and determined. Throughout her life, she formed some friendships that made me choke up as the story went on. ALSO just wanna throw in there that I really, really liked Monique as a character and loved loved loved her growth throughout the story. She had such a strong voice and I could just clearly see her in my head which was great. The characters are truly the ones who had me keep flipping pages at a ridiculous speed. They just absolutely came off of the page and felt real.

"I'm under absolutely no obligation to make sense to you."

I wanted to stand up and clap at several parts. This is about a woman who had to make some hard decisions to get where she wanted to be in life (especially because of the time she's from) and wasn't apologetic about it. It also discusses the complexity of sexuality and how it's a spectrum. It has characters that are lesbian, gay, and bisexual. It portrays a beautiful unconventional (esp for the time) family. I really enjoyed reading these parts, too. It was so hopeful and genuine.

This book discusses social justice, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, racism, how controlling Hollywood can be (and how it connects to the subjects I just mentioned), and the strains society puts on families to be "traditional”--whatever that means anyway. All of it was challenged. I think the commentary on these issues were on point.

I can recommend this to anyone interested in old Hollywood, morally gray characters that will tug at your heart strings, and a good, slow-burn of a love story. AND THAT LAST LINE, THOUGH. Not over it. I finished the story with a big smile on my face.

This is an emotional, unique, fast-paced read. It's great. Taylor Jenkins Reid, I am so happy you wrote this! Such a marvelous story. I won't be forgetting this one.

TW: Domestic abuse, biphobia, racism, homophobia, sexism
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Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo married seven times – but which of her husbands was her one true love?

That’s the question rookie reporter Monique Grant is determined to ask when she’s invited to interview an ageing Evelyn at her plush apartment on the Upper East Side.  Why has notoriously private Evelyn decided to talk now after years of silence? And why has she chosen Monique for the job?  Nobody knows the answer to that apart from Evelyn herself– and she’s a lady who knows how to keep a secret.  With her own love life in ruins, recently separated Monique is determined to get the scoop on some vintage Hollywood scandal, and earn a promotion in the process. However, what Monique discovers during her conversations with Evelyn, is more shocking than she ever could have imagined.

I just adore Old Hollywood, don’t you? All that glamour, all those secrets, all that scandal and, unlike the mostly non-descript leading men of today, the leading men back then were so dashing, so handsome!  Of course, Old Hollywood wasn’t all fun and games.  Rather, it was a land of smoke and mirrors, where names and faces were routinely changed, humble backgrounds were re-written, relationships were often for publicity purposes, secrets were kept for a price and scandals were swept under the carpet by all-powerful studio fixers.  Speaking of which, just last night I watched a documentary on closeted actors in the Hollywood of the 1950’s, when to be openly gay was guaranteed career-ending.   The documentary is Tab Hunter Confidential. It’s on Netflix.

Anyway, back to Evelyn Hugo, born Evelyn Herrera in humble Hell’s Kitchen beginnings, who dyed her locks blonde in order to downplay her Cuban heritage, and traded her virtue for a one-way ticket to Hollywood.  I must say that Taylor Jenkins Reid does such a great job in constructing the character of Evelyn Hugo that this book reads like the best Hollywood biography ever written – even though its subject is entirely fictional. That said, Evelyn’s life and looks bear a resemblance to a number of Old Hollywood actresses. In her background and heritage, she resembles Rita Hayworth. She has the ruthless ambition and drive of Joan Crawford,  while she also shares the sultry good looks of Lauren Bacall, the curves of Marilyn Monroe and, of course, the multiple marriages of Elizabeth Taylor.

It’s all good fun watching as Evelyn rises to the top of her Hollywood game, leaving a trail of leading men in her wake.  It’s a whirlwind of dresses and parties and Oscar glamour, for sure. Then, there’s the price that has to be paid for that level of fame.  At a time when Hollywood actresses were not born, but made by moguls with money in mind, one wrong move could send your whole world crashing down. As Monique Grant is about to find out, Evelyn Hugo knows not only about the price of fame, she knows all about the price of secrets too.

Immersive, engaging and superbly well-written, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favourite reads of summer 2017 and a must-read for fans of Old Hollywood.  If you loved Ryan Murphy’s Feud earlier this year – then you will love this!

Hungry for even more Old Hollywood Scandal? Check out You Must Remember This, a podcast about the often-scandalous lives of the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
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Whenever I pick up a book from a favorite author, I start to get nervous that this is going to be the book that disappoints me. It'll finally be the book where everything comes crashing down and I have to take a long break from that author. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was the exact opposite of that. In fact, this book made me want to go back re-read all of Reid's books and then start counting down until her next novel. Old Hollywood maybe where Reid has found her stride. As Hugo recounts her life as she matured in Hollywood, Reid managed to show the dark underside of Hollywood, while also highlighting the glamorous life everyone prefers to hear about. Reid is also able to brilliantly relate Hugo's tale back to the main character of the novel, a magazine writer in New York City, who is struggling to move up the ladder in her career.

This novel was easily one of the reading highlights of my summer.
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She's done it again and, as usual, I will say that this is the best one yet! Jenkins Reid has crafted a unique and incredibly well-written story with many layers that seem to blend seamlessly. A beautiful commentary on acceptance and the sacrifices we make for those we love - all of them. This novel had me teary-eyed, as I read Monique's (one of the main characters) mother describe her relationship with her husband, Monique's father; I was reminded that there are so many different forms of love and possibilities for relationships throughout our lives.
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My Highly Caffeinated Thought: Classic Hollywood with a modern twist.

SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO is a book that will give you the glitz, the glamor, and the scandals that make Hollywood so intriguing. Through the voice of Evelyn Hugo, the author transports us back into what it was like to be a movie star in the 1950s.

I loved all the behind the scenes happenings and dirty little secrets that littered this book. It read like a movie star’s memoir…though, I guess that is the point. Then there is Monique. Her voice is truly the most authentic in the sense that she is not hiding anything. Her life has been shaped by a series of events starting with her father’s death to her break-up to her inevitable decision to write Evelyn’s story, but it will be Evelyn’s story that will truly change everything.

It can be said, that this is not my favorite book by the author. There is still a fight to the death between ONE TRUE LOVES and MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE for that spot. Yet, the story is solid. It will give you drama, secrets, and even a little twist at the end. For fans of the author, it will no doubt keep your interest as you find out more about Evelyn and her connection to Monique.
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This book was EVERYTHING. I absolutely devoured the story and loved it from start to finish. As I received an advanced copy, I'm now jealous of my friends who are able to live in the world of Evelyn Hugo for the first time. I'll definitely be adding this to my re-read pile.
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Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I have read every single book that Taylor Jenkins Reid has written and I have loved each of them in their own way. This book is markedly different than anything she has ever written and is an absolutely spellbinding book filled with old Hollywood glamour, celebrity secrets, and the power of real and true love.

Evelyn Hugo is an aging starlet who has decided to hire a magazine reporter to write her biography. As someone who has been very private, it is the chance of a lifetime for a virtually unknown writer to be given the story that is worth millions of dollars.

Evelyn’s love life has been something that Hollywood has often been speculated on, but no one could ever guess who captured Evelyn’s heart and how she was able, at times, to make her relationship work with the love of her life. Unfortunately, living in the spotlight often gets in the way of real living. This couldn’t be truer in Evelyn’s life and she is ready to divulge all of her secrets to Monique, in exchange for her writing her biography and publishing it upon her death.

I cannot rave enough about Reid’s ability to write real and relatable love stories. Each of her love stories has connected with me in some way and this book is no exception. I was swept away in Evelyn’s retelling of her life and Reid weaves smart plot twists in the end that I have a feeling you will really enjoy. In fact, I’m still thinking about them.

You must add this book to your book stacks stat!
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unfortunately this was did not finish for me.  i have loved everything else written by this author but this book was a dud to me.
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I'm going to start with honesty: This may have only gotten 5 stars from me because I've felt decidedly "meh" about everything else I have read lately, and this is the first in a while that I really just wanted to keep reading. And that earned points for me. 

This isn't a perfect book, but it is so compulsively readable. I really liked Monique, the budding journalist tasked with writing the famous Evelyn Hugo's tell-all. And I was so intrigued by why Evelyn chose Monique. I also enjoyed how Evelyn's story somewhat paralleled, or at least shed more light on Monique's own personal situation. 

And then there's just Evelyn herself. I know I have griped before about how much I often loathe made up "fandoms" and things in other books. And I know Evelyn Hugo, the actress, and all of the other actors/actresses in this book are made up, but it SO WORKED here. Maybe it's because old Hollywood is something I feel removed from. I got swept up in all of the Hollywood drama, and Evelyn's behind-the-scenes scheming. It didn't matter that these people weren't real, because they felt so real to me. 

I couldn't wait to hear the story about all of Evelyn's husbands. I actually wanted to know even MORE after an early twist in the book, where Evelyn reveals who her one true love actually was. It was interesting to see how things would play out from there. I especially wanted to know about her marriage to Harry Cameron, because I loved him so, so much. 

I don't want to say too much about this book, because I don't want to give anything away. But I so thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved what a complex, nuanced character Evelyn was. She could be ruthless, was always thinking ahead, but also had a vulnerable side that she would show every now and then. By the time her connection to Monique was revealed, I had figured it out on my own. But I appreciated getting to watch Monique process the information, and see where she landed in regards to Evelyn and the reveal when the book ended. 

While the book was so much more about Evelyn than anything else, I did really appreciate getting to see how working with Evelyn affected Monique. How it made her reframe her own decisions, and her own personal life and struggles. 

Because I have nothing else to add that would make any sense and not spoil something in the book, I will just end with one of my favorite quotes (I'm on a quote kick lately I guess...): 

It's always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly - Evelyn Hugo
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This beautiful, sweeping story of the ups and downs in the life of a 1950s movie star is told as an interview to a young journalist, Monique, whose life is unknowingly intertwined with the star’s life.  The journalist’s husband has recently left her and her job is currently uninspired.  She hopes that this article will jump-start what was an otherwise listless career.

Evelyn Hugo’s reflections on life and relationships and career success will make the reader consider the complexities that exist when trying to navigate reality.  Although Evelyn is a movie star whose rich and luxurious life is beyond that of the average person, readers will still empathize with Evelyn’s heartbreaking relationship with her true love.  She is not the most likeable character, but her flaws make her real and relatable.  We all make bad decisions.  Then we have to deal with the consequences.  Reading about a character who suffers from the repercussions of bad decisions can be quite refreshing.  Sometimes there just isn’t a happy, perfect, tidy ending.  It’s up to the reader to decide if the ending of this novel is satisfactory.  I have a feeling that some people will not like it, but that’s the way things go.

The shifts back and forth in time might not appeal to all readers, but those who don’t mind will find it was well done.
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Evelyn Hugo is a classic film actress born in 1938. By 1955, she became Hollywood elite and remained in the spotlight for three decades. Her life has been in tabloids and on the tongues of gossipers. Everything from the risks she took, the loves of her life, her many marriages and career is newsworthy. Finally she is ready to tell the truth in her own words. But only to one person: an unknown magazine reporter named Monique Grant.

Why her? No one, including Monique, knows why Evelyn Hugo chose her to report such a glamorous and scandalous life. Most importantly, Evelyn is ready to reveal a secret to the public...through Monique only. Meanwhile, Monique is going through a tough personal time. She is undervalued as a journalist and recently split from her husband. Writing a biography is just the distraction she needs, especially if it jumpstarts her career.

Through interview/writing sessions at Evelyn's Upper East Side apartment, Monique learns all about the Hollywood star from her early start in the 1950s to her current life and the seven husbands along the way. Monique begins to feel a connection with Evelyn but doesn't realize how much their lives really intersect.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is like a soap opera in literary form starring a biracial main character. Immediately a certain real life actress came to mind but through Taylor Jenkins Reid's words, I totally fell into the unique events and world of Evelyn Hugo. I was all in, turning pages faster than they would flip. I knew a big reveal would come toward the end but it was nothing like I expected. The way Evelyn Hugo's personal storytelling resonates with Monique and encourages decision-making was well done. The story is well-paced and hardly holds any unnecessary scenes. Even the stunning cover is fitting! I can appreciate good writing...all 400 pages worth. Bookhearts, you will too.

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I liked, but didn't love this book. It was a totally different style from her previous books and I guess it didn't meet my expectations. I didn't get around to reviewing it and then it was getting so much press that I decided to focus my time elsewhere.
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This book was absolutely fantastic.  I was gripped from page one.  I was already a big fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid's writing but this book blew the last one out of the water for me.  I am all about anything Old Hollywood and that was what this book was. It was a rich story full of true to life characters and dramas.  Every time I was not reading it I was thinking about it and wondering what would happen to Evelyn next in the story.  Taylor has a fantastic capability for giving you the question that will be answered in the story but keeping you engaged throughout the entire end or whenever you get to the answers you have been looking for.  For me this was one of those stories that you do want to end because you want to know what the outcome will be, but also don't because you'll be sad when it's over.  If you love anything Old Hollywood or characters that have real life and difficult situations and relationships, this is the book for you!
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I was intrigued by the premise of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but I was also afraid that part of me would find it rather… dull. I picked this up with a bunch of preconceived notions about what Evelyn would be like and worried that reading a sort of autobiography about a fictional woman I have no real direct interest in and her seven husbands would grow old quickly. I was very wrong.

Evelyn Hugo might be one of my favourite characters of all time. Or at least one of my favourite characters I’ve met in the last few years. She was fierce, she was driven, she had no shame, she was wise in retrospect, but she was also deeply flawed, selfish and human. She hurt a lot of people and told a lot of lies. But she was fiercely independent, learning from an early age that no one else in her life was going to help her. She grabbed life and made it hers. 

This was, sadly, also her downfall and when she finally found people who were willing to give her everything and help her selflessly, she couldn’t fully let go of that independence. This notion resonates with me deeply. I can see a lot of myself in Evelyn. I feel a very kindred kinship with the way she went through her life, where her priorities were, how unexpected finding that kind of passionate love was. I didn’t always agree with her actions or the way she handled herself in certain situations, but I felt like I understood her motives and her actions.

There’s something so painful about retrospect. In the moment, Evelyn always believed she was making the right choices, that she was taking the right stance, and while it seemed to work out for her for the most part, what she sacrificed and lost to make all of that happen makes you wonder whether it was all worth it. This is a really strong message; it really gives you something to think about.

I kept forgetting that this was a work of fiction. All throughout it, I wanted to jump onto Google and search for movie names and pictures of Evelyn, only to remember that they don’t actually exist. Reid does an incredible job of bringing reality to this piece of work. Nothing is too over the top, though Evelyn’s entire world is larger than life. It’s a balanced and beautiful and heartbreaking story and like I said, I wasn’t expecting that at all.

All of this aside, there’s another part to this book that is almost as intriguing. Evelyn hires Monique to write her story. Only Monique, she doesn’t want anyone else. The entire book alludes to there being more to this story, alludes to Evelyn doing something so horrible that Monique will end up hating her by the end of it, though neither of them seem remotely connected. I often forgot about this part of the book because I was so wrapped up in everything else, to the point that I even missed some carefully placed hints throughout the story that would lead to the ultimate reveal in the end. But it was a good thing that I easily forgot about this because when that moment finally came, it hit me hard. Of course!

To say I enjoyed this book is a vastly unfair understatement. This book bewitched me, much like Evelyn bewitched everyone in her lifetime. This was more than just a story to me, I felt like I was sitting there listening to Evelyn share her story to me directly. At times, I wanted to cry for her. Other times, I wanted to shake some sense into her. But overall, I ended up wanting to thank her, this fictional character, for sharing her brave, passionate and beautiful story. I am going to miss her.
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This will go live on my blog tomorrow.

Monique Grant is not a household name. She writes for a famous magazine but you probably haven't heard of her...which is what makes it so weird that Evelyn Hugo (one of the most famous actresses EVER; think Elizabeth Taylor, but even bigger) wants her to write an authorized biography. For the first time, Evelyn will tell the entire truth about her life. 

If you love Hollywood (especially old Hollywood), you need this book. Many reviews have already pointed out how real Evelyn and her movies seem; it is incredibly sad that we can't see any of her movies (seeing as how, you know, it's all fiction). 

I completely adore this novel and Evelyn Hugo. She isn't perfect at all but even her flaws are almost endearing. She does horrible things sometimes but generally for the right reasons. She may destroy someone to protect someone she loves...and, if we're being honest, most of us would follow her example. 

This is an absolute masterpiece. Highly recommended.
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