The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’m having a day today.  I’m just not in the mood for anything. The job is just not working for me, the Government is a mess, and it feels like I’m taking crazy pills.

So let me tell you about a book I devoured in probably two days.  I’m obsessed with Old Hollywood.  The 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s were a fascinating time in our nation’s history, and the life the stars led in and around Hollywood is just filled with juicy details.  You’d think it’s fiction, but it’s not!


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo is an aging star who has worked through decades in the industry and is now ready to turn it all in.  Her daughter had recently passed away from cancer, so she decides to sell her collection of famous gowns in order to donate the money to a cancer charity.

Monique Grant is an author working at a magazine and get the honor of being personally handpicked to ostensibly write an article about the artist and her gowns.  When she shows up, she soon learns that Evelyn instead wants to dictate her life story to her.  She starts by asking Evelyn a relatively simple question.  “Who was the love of your life?”

The story follows her chronologically through her seven husbands to try and answer that question.  There is a twist that I won’t spoil, but you can figure it out if you read between the lines of the early chapters.

In my head, I pictured Evelyn as an Elizabeth Taylor type character (which, you should read anything you can about her as well…so good).

She wanted to be famous, she wanted to be an actress, and she wanted to be loved.  She worked hard to get to where she was at, even at times doing things that might not be considered good in a modern world.

Monique also spends the book trying to figure out why she was chosen by Evelyn herself to write this book.  It turns out they have a pretty unexpected connection that I definitely didn’t see coming.  I thought she was going to be her child or something crazy like that.  Just know that is not the case.

I got this book through my Book of the Month membership…which I highly recommend to everyone.  I even got a copy of Elin Hildebrand’s new book (my mom is a huge fan) at a substantial discount from the bookstores.  The month prior I got Paula Hawkins “Into the Water” also at a discount.

If you want to sign up, use my link below!

My Book of the Month!

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn


The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Did you know that there was a whole network of women spies during World War I?  I didn’t.  I knew there were women involved in espionage during the 2nd World War, but I never really thought about the war before.  I guess it only makes sense.  Women want to fight for their country as much as most men, they are just not given the same opportunities especially at that time.

While the main characters of this book are fictional (according to the author), she uses two real life women to propel the story.  The head of the “Alice Network” is Lili (real name unknown until the end).  In 1915, a young woman with a stutter, Eve is desperate to join the war.  She is stuck filing and is recruited by a dashing Captain who sees her potential.  Another real life member of this network, Captain Cameron is one of the main architects of this network.  He trains Eve and sends her into France to infiltrate a café run by a collaborator and visited by German officers.  With the help of two other members of the network, she learns important information and passes it along.

The story is weaved into the tale of a woman in 1947 who is searching for her cousin who went missing in WWII from a similar restaurant and town.  It turns out that Eve is the last person to know what happened to the owner of the café and has her own reasons to search for him.  Charlie St. Clair taps Eve and her driver to help her search for her cousin.  The story weaves between Eve and Charlie, and we learn more about what women had to go through in the war in order to survive and help the war effort abroad.

These types of stories are amazing to me.  Especially after just watching Wonder Woman and knowing the women can be the fiercest of fighters and protectors.  Even though men at the time denied their influence, this network of spies provided information that could’ve turned the war around.  As it is today, sometimes men don’t listen to the information that women give them, and they miss valuable opportunities.  The women portrayed in this book are heroes and should be celebrated as such.

The Other Einstein: A Novel by Marie Benedict


The Other Einstein: A Novel by Marie Benedict

Science!  Okay, not one of my best subjects.  I’m fascinated by smart people, but all the math is very intimidating.  I’ll stick with my literature and writing thank you very much.

So, we all know Einstein and the theory of relativity.  But did you know he wasn’t always the crazy white haired guy with the bushy mustache that we think of him as?  Before he became science famous, he was a student attending a prestigious physics academy where he met his first wife.  This book is about her and her journey in Einstein’s circle.

Mitza Maric is a young girl from Eastern Europe who has an affinity for math and learning the physics of the world.  Marred with a “deformed” hip that causes her to limp, she hardens her heart against outsiders and with the approval of her father becomes one of the first women to attend school in Zurich.  In a small class of six other men, including Albert Einstein.  They strike up a friendship that later turned into a love affair.  Even though they cement their relationship on a trip to Lake Cuomo which leads to a pregnancy.  At the time, Albert became distant and focused on a job search, neglecting Mitza and their soon to be born child.  She has the baby at home but eventually returns to him, leaving the child with her parents.

She finally convinces Albert to marry her to provide for her child.  They never send for their daughter, and Albert almost pretends she doesn’t exist.  An unspeakable tragedy happens, and their tenuous relationship fractures even more.  The book posits that Mitza helped refine Albert’s theory of relativity, even coming up with the main idea herself.  She finds her name expunged from the records of the findings, and slowly slips into a deep depression.  Finding her way out consumes the rest of the book, and it definitely doesn’t make Albert seem all that great of a guy in the long run.  Maybe it’s because he’s a genius, but his interpersonal skills so evident in his student days disappear around his wife.

I didn’t know about this part of history, and I find it amazing that this woman could have had a hand in some of the greatest theories of the time.  While there is no proof she authored anything, it is believable that a woman who studied physics would be a sounding board for her equally inquisitive lover.  The book ends on a satisfying note and I would be interested to read more books about women in history and the men they shaped.


**Note:  Still querying my novel.  All edited and updated.  Have about 100 queries out there….and will hopefully be able to query more at the Writer’s Digest Conference in August and Bouchercon in October!**