The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- Buy the book here
- Page count: 400
- Genre: Romance, historical fiction, LGBTQ+, fiction
- Content warning: intimate partner abuse, racism, homophobia, biphobia, abortion, and suicide.
I was searching for a book that would surprise me. I’ve been reading a lot of romance lately, and a lot of those books tend to hit the same notes. And then The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was sitting on the front table of my local bookstore and I thought, why not? I knew nothing about this book except that it is popular on #BookTok. I love old Hollywood stories, so I gave it a shot.
Old Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo has long kept the details of her personal life private. The whole world has longed to learn the story behind long-ago mystery of Evelyn’s seven husbands. When struggling magazine writer Monique receives a request from Evelyn Hugo to write the tell-all of her life, Monique doesn’t know what to think. The story of Evelyn Hugo’s glamorous life is full of more secrets than Monique could ever imagine.
Personally, I enjoyed this book. I thought the world building of Old Hollywood glamour and the dark abuse behind it was convincing and intricate. Taylor Jenkins Reid builds a history so deep that I found myself near searching if Evelyn Hugo was real. Her career does invoke a few famous names, though it’s important to note the the story is fiction and not factually based off the life of any one actress.
What really suprised me about this story was the form. Jenkins Reid writes Evelyn Hugo as if journalist Monique is conducting the interviews. This means we get told about Eveleyn’s younger days from the dialogue of present day Evelyn, and also from chapters of flashback that sink more deeply into Evelyn’s perspective in full scene. There are also chapters that focus on the life of Monique in the present. Don’t worry about getting lost in this story. It is a clear narrative just told in a unique way.
There’s been discussions online about Jenkins Reid’s writings the experiences of a black woman and a bisexual woman of color that raise questions about the intersections of identity and storytelling. I personally don’t feel qualified to speak on these topics, but I encourage readers to seek out material from both readers and the author on this topic.
My main letdown with Evelyn Hugo was the ending. There’s a lot of buildup to a big twist, and I was surprised by the twist, but I wanted more for the characters than the shock factor that the twist produced.
The heart of this story is Evelyn’s true love romance. This book is incredibly entertaining, and if nothing else will encourage you to read it, I hope the romance does (No spoilers on the love of Evelyn’s life here! All I can say is that I’m a big fan of this couple). All I will say is that I hope chipping one’s tooth on the television becomes the new romance trope.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has a wonderful mix of drama, mystery, history, and romance. This is a story that readers of all different genres might enjoy.