A Review by Hannah Sender
Evelyn Hugo has been hiding her whole life but is finally ready to voice her truth. The whole truth. Behind the seemingly glamorous life of the silver-screen star lies sacrifice, betrayal, and her seven husbands, Evelyn’s one true love.
The historical fiction/romance novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was published in June of 2017. This book is not part of a series but does include characters featured in Reid’s Malibu Rising, published in 2021.
Monique Grant is an up-and-coming journalist for Vivant magazine in New York City, and she has been selected for the opportunity of a lifetime. Acclaimed 1950s actress Evelyn Hugo, now 79 years old and finally ready to share her life story, has specifically requested Monique to author her biography. Monique has no clue why Evelyn wants her out of all the talented reporters at Vivant but agrees to the job. Evelyn has promised her the entire revenue of the book sales, as she has specifically instructed Monique not to publish the book until Evelyn has passed away. Evelyn shares the backstory on each of her marriages, but more importantly, the forbidden love of her life. Monique and Evelyn quickly take a liking to each other throughout their time together, but Monique fears Evelyn has ulterior motives behind the offer that is seemingly too good to be true.
Reid crafts each personality in her world to the utmost detail and complexity, I found myself enjoying even the most devious characters. Reid curates each individual plotline to be polished and sound. Reid creates Evelyn to be a wise soul from who the reader seems to learn moral lessons throughout the story. After reading this book, I truly feel like I’ve gained some knowledge from Evelyn and have acquired guidance I’ll use in my future concerning love, career, and life in general… a famed actress or not. Even though the main persona in the story was Evelyn, I found that Reid was able to keep Monique an interesting character with importance and a concrete ending. Although it is sometimes hard to keep track of the many characters involved in Reid’s novels, each holds its own significance and pushes the story forward in just the right ways.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced page-turner. I also recommend it to anyone who enjoys a story that will make you laugh as well as cry. The love story is sure to grab the interest of a reader who simply enjoys romance novels, yet also a reader who appreciates the complexity behind the give-and-take of a romantic relationship forced behind closed doors. I would also rate this book five stars and would rate it even higher if I could. It is most definitely one of my favorites I’ve ever picked up.Evelyn’s story is an intensely emotional experience that everyone should have a chance to learn from. The significance of the title expresses the tone of the novel as a whole. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo implies that the story will commemorate her husbands, when in actuality, Evelyn was the only person who made her career as legendary as it was, her husbands mostly insignificant side plots. Evelyn stole hearts across the world in the ’50s and is sure to win over the reader as well in this exquisitely timeless narrative.