Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical Romance Fiction
Publication Date: Jun 13, 2017
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 definitely worthy of all the hype that it’s received. In a story about perspectives, love, and sacrifices told in an autobiographical form, Taylor Jenkins Reid paints a masterful story that will leave you questioning your own perspectives and biases.
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s greatest skill is writing beautiful, real, and honest characters. In every book I’ve ready by her, it’s her characters that always win me over; they always make me feel. Even though we don’t spend as much time with Monique as we do with Evelyn Hugo, I still felt a connection to her and had a stake in her life. That being said, Evelyn Hugo’s life was fully fleshed out – every minute detail on display. Why did she have seven husbands? Who really was the love of her life? The whole book really is necessary to give an accurate answer to those questions, and I love that Reid make every chapter, every scene, every word count.
Another fantastic aspect of the story is the world building. It was rich with details on the studios, the sets, the competition for roles, and the need to always save face, no matter the consequences. So many aspects of this world were problematic – the misogyny, the patriarchy, the idea that women were only pretty things. I think the worst thing about it is that so much of that is still true today. We are getting better, there’s no doubt about it, but after so much time we’re leagues behind where we should be.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a fantastic story. There are so many layers and intricacies in Hugo’s love life that you can’t help but just sit back and enjoy the ride, because even though there is a lot of heartbreak in this story, it truly is enjoyable to read.
World Building: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.30/5