Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Genre(s): Adult, Realistic Contemporary, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA+
Source: Amazon, Audible
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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 is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, 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 mesmerizing 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 costs—to face the truth.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is easily one of my favorite books of all time. When I first read this book, I had a lot of feels and wasn’t able to focus my thoughts and write a review. This book has been getting so much hype on BookTube since last year and it’s one I think is totally worth all the hype.
It wasn’t until rereading this book a few days ago that I was finally able to gather my thoughts and (try) to explain to you why I loved this book so so much.
Oh and I’ll keep this spoiler free as there are parts of this book I feel need to be experienced without spoilers to get the full effect.
“Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”
Monique – Monique’s character was interesting to read about as she had a few different roles in the story. Not only was she the catalyst for learning Evelyn’s story but she also had an unexpected connection to Evelyn and used Evelyn’s influence to further her career. I really enjoyed reading about Monique and learning about her as the story went on. I think that Monique’s relationship with Evelyn also helped add complexities to each character.
Evelyn – Evelyn really is the star of the show in this story. I found her story so compelling and I, like Monique, just wanted to learn more and had trouble putting the book down. I also love the confidence Evelyn has. She knows she’s made mistakes and poor choices, but she’s honest with herself and motives. This allows for such an interesting character study as Evelyn is pretty morally gray. She does awful things, she does great things, she helps her loved ones and she hurts them. All of this leads to one of the most compelling characters I think I’ve ever read about.
Celia – Celia is one of those side characters who is used so so well. At first, you feel like she’s introduced just to further the plot, but when you learn more about this character you find out there is so much more to her than even the novel allows us to explore. I also loved Celia’s reason during so many moments. This book isn’t afraid to make you think and Celia was at the forefront several of these thought-provoking moments.
Harry – Ah, Harry I think is my favorite side character. I thought his relationship with Evelyn was just precious. Harry is one of those friends I think we all strive to find one day. Learning about his story, especially towards the end, just gave me more feels than I was prepared for.
“Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box.”
So, this plot of this book doesn’t do it justice. This book is learning the story of Evelyn’s life through her many marriages. But this book is so much more than that. Evelyn’s life overlaps with so many contemporary issues including LGBTQIA+ rights, abandoning cultural identity to further a public career, marriage and love, divorce, and abuse.
Evelyn isn’t afraid to use her sexuality to get what she wants and she’s not afraid to make questionable decisions to further her career. It was so compelling to read about the choices she made and the things she gave up. It was also interesting to know her options on her choices when she was looking back on them. Knowing what choices she regretted and which ones she didn’t really added to the depth of Evelyn’s character.
Learning Evelyn’s story also included some moments of genuine feels I was not prepared for. By the end of the story, I was tearing up, so compelled by this story and some of the underlying implications. There’s also a twist in here that when you figure out where it’s going, it’s almost too late.
This is one of those compelling stories that grasps your attention from the start and holds it until the final page.
“That’s the part I was stuck in, the part where you accept the apology because it’s easier than addressing the root of the problem,”
I loved this book, more than I was expecting and more than I thought was possible. Taylor Jenkins Reid writes Evelyn as such an authentic character, it’s hard to believe that she’s not actually a real person.
This is one of those books that allow the reader to forget the real world for the duration of reading it (or listening to the audiobook) and just get lost in the story of a Hollywood starlet from the past.
Evelyn is captivating as a narrator and a character and I think she’s a character all readers should be introduced to. Even if you’re not an adult contemporary reader, I implore you to pick up this book and experience this story for yourself.
“I’m under absolutely no obligation to make sense to you.”