The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Themes: historical fiction, LGBTQ, romance

The synopsis

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.

The review

I received this book for Christmas from my mother and it will be one of my favourites reads of 2022!

I especially loved the writing and the past present alternation with the ‘today’ parts being breaks from Evelyn’s narration. It allows the writer to build an efficient parallel between Evelyn and Monique, the journalist interviewing her. The writing style is concise and straight to the point but includes just enough details such as clothes or references to geopolitical events to transport the reader in the 60s. I also loved how the autobiographical parts were written as if I was the one Evelyn was talking to.

The author deals with some delicate topics with finesse but without concealing or attenuating the facts. The reader quickly realises how awful is the world of Hollywood behind all its glamour and glitters. In this world are evolving persons that are struggling with both the hardships of this world and their own issues, such as their identity. At the end of this book, you have a precise and vivid idea of the difficulties homosexual people encountered and know more about the notions of racism or sexuality at this time.

I absolutely loved Evelyn’s character who was as fascinating and intriguing to me as she was to Monique. The contrast between her narration, Monique’s, and the press articles are mirroring the complexity of this character who is not good but just did what she could or had to do in order to survive. When you reach the end of the book, you find yourself unable to hate her but just aching for all she had to endure. I also liked how she was linked to Monique, even if I guessed that part a bit before it was revealed by the narration.

All the characters we encounter in this book could have been real and are showing the reader the complexity of human beings and their relationships. Even though the main protagonist is Evelyn and thus they’re all linked to her, they have their own story to tell and I wanted to know what had happened to them as I wanted to know about Evelyn.

Finally, I think this book moved me this much because of its perfect representation of love. Too often, it is considered as something quite simple and straightforward. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is reminding us that on the contrary, this is a complex notion, with everyone having their own definition for it. And that there is more than one way to feel love for someone.

In brief: this book was an incredible reading experience and it was interesting to see the social evolution of Western societies in parallel with Evelyn’s life and the ones of her friends.

My rating: 5/5

10 thoughts on “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid”

  1. Thank you so much for your nice comment! 💜 I took a look at your own review (which was great!) and totally get what you mean about the writing style. I guess it didn’t bother me because I like when things are straightforward and concise 😂


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