Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult, Romance, LGBTQ
Publisher: Atria Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Pub. Date: June 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.
*Please be advised this review is a SPOILER review*
I usually divide my book review into sections: plot, writing, characters, and thoughts. However, I wanted to do something a little different with this review since I just simply want to talk about how magical this book is as a whole.
“I insist that you be ruthless in your negotiating.
Make them pay you what they would pay a white man.”
This is my second Taylor Jenkins Reid book, the first one I read was Daisy Jones & The Six which I have a full non-spoiler review for here. I have watched countless BookTube videos and read countless tweets on the comparisons of both Daisy Jones and Evelyn Hugo. People recommended that you should read Evelyn Hugo before Daisy Jones because we wouldn’t be disappointed blah blah blah. Blah because that’s exactly what it is. There is absolutely no comparing Daisy Jones and Evelyn Hugo. I loved both of them equally as much for different reasons. The writing styles are completely different. I don’t believe that one is better than the other. In other words, Taylor Jenkins Reid is a genius and I need to read all her books.
Anywho, I cried. I cried a lot while reading this book. You can easily say that Evelyn Hugo is an unlikable character. However I loved her. I loved her ruthlessness and her knowingness of the power she had and how she used that power to get what she wanted. Yes, there are things she did that I would never do like sleep with people to climb to the top or get married for less than 24 hours just to pull the tabloids away from the gossip that was going around at the time. Her morally gray character is something that I loved because although I didn’t agree with some of her decisions, I understood it. It was a different time back then, there were different rules and she played them all to her liking.
“I thought that people were put on earth to find other
people, and I was put here to find you. To find you and
touch your skin and smell your breath and hear all your
thoughts. But I don’t think that’s true anymore.”
My favorite characters were pretty much the main characters; Evelyn Hugo, Celia St. James, Monique Grant, and Harry Cameron. I loved the dynamic between Evelyn and Harry. I wasn’t even surprised as to why they had married, it made all the sense in the world to me. Keeping each other safe in a time where the LGBTQ+ community was not accepted at all. They’re platonic relationship really made me smile but his tragic death shattered my whole existence. Seeing how people kept leaving Evelyn’s life in tragic ways one by one broke me down.
My favorite relationship was between Evelyn Hugo and Celia St. James. For a book that is titled The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I was not expecting this budding beautiful strong relationship between them both. Everything they went through together and how they tried to make it work when the odds were stacked up against them, the ending where Celia tells Evelyn to marry her brother so when Celia dies, she’ll have everything…I get teary eyed just thinking about it. WOW WHAT A BOOK! Reid had me staying up later than usual just to finish this book. They’re relationship mirrored real life relationships which is what made me love them even more and how they always came back to one another pulled at my heartstrings.
“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth.
When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can
show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare
and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.”
But can we talk about that plot twist that I was not expecting at all???? The story of Monique Grant’s dad?!? OMFG! I was literally yelling! I did not expect that at all. Once again, Taylor Jenkins Reid is a genius!! It was executed so well because it was a hidden twist, something that was not mentioned much. Actually, I would love a companion novel only on Monique and her life after Seven Husbands because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NOW THAT SHE’S RICH AND DID SHE TELL DAVID TO GO FUCK OFF AND WHAT ABOUT HER MOM?! I have all these questions that I want answers too lol.
“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life,
be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
The world doesn’t give things, you take things.”
Also!!! Not to mention that ending really did it for me. How Evelyn still took control of her life and when it was going to end????? UGH THE WATER WORKS!! This is the type of book that will stay with me forever. I will forever recommend and I need more books like this.