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Book Review Historical Fiction

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo – Book Review

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo was released several years ago before it became viral in the Bookstagram and BookTok community. The book has a glowing 4.48 star review on Goodreads (at the time of writing this) and everyone on social media has raved about this book a lot. Of course I had to check it out for myself and see if it’s just hyped up. Suffice to say, this book is worth all the hype.

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

Publisher: Atria Books

Number of Pages: 389 (hardcover)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Add To Shelf: GOODREADS

summary

Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo tells the shocking & untold life story of Evelyn Hugo and all the love, loss & heartbreak that she endured as a price of fame. 

The story begins with an aging Evelyn in her late seventies when she hires an unknown & inexperienced journalist, Monique Grant, to write her biography. Monique is not exactly the top in her career so she is astounded when Evelyn single-handedly picked her to write her biography. But determined to use this opportunity to jump start her career, Monique agrees to take the job. Soon she is summoned to Evelyn’s apartment and Monique starts to listen to the tales of Evelyn’s time, the story of her true self beginning in the 1950s when Evelyn arrived in Hollywood, to her leaving show business in the 80s, and of course the seven husbands along the way.

As Evelyn recounts the different stages of her life with Monique, we learn more about the real & untold story behind the scandals and ultimately the real reason why Evelyn chose Monique to write her life story.

my thoughts

This is an amazing book and it got me hooked from the very beginning. I just wanted to keep turning the pages to know more about Evelyn’s story and how it all unfolds. It was so hard to put this book down that I took an extended lunch break from work just so I can finish this off. It’s one of those books that is hard to get out of my mind.

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo talks about complex relationships, sexuality, misogyny, deception, fame, and what one is willing to do and to give up, just to adhere to society’s norms.

This was the very first book that I read by Taylor Jenkins Reid and suffice to say, she has become one of my favourite authors since then. TJR did an exceptional job in telling the story of Evelyn and all the complexities of her person. Her writing ensures that the readers feel the same emotions as the characters and you feel like you are also in the same room as them. 

The story is told in first-person and alternates between Evelyn and Monique’s POV. Though the title implies that this book is about Evelyn’s seven husbands, the story isn’t really focused on them but rather Evelyn herself. We quickly see that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to her seven marriages.

“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.”

When I finished the book, I was left feeling satisfied with the story. Though it left me feeling conflicted afterwards, I was content that there was closure. It didn’t leave me feeling like there was anything else missing. 

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book. I’ll be honest that I hated a lot of the main characters, but the story & the writing really put this book to my top list.

CHARACTER ANALYSIS

There were so many important characters & relationships in this book that contributed to making this an amazing story so I wanted to discuss this a bit. 

* But before you read further, please note that there are spoilers ahead so stop here if you haven’t read the book yet.

Evelyn and Celia

Celia was so toxic. She was horrible to Evelyn. She was only nice and loving to her when she got what she wanted. But the minute that Evelyn made a mistake or did something to upset her, she would throw a tantrum and would speak harmful & irrevocable words just to cause Evelyn pain. Sure, relationships are complicated and fights are inevitable. But if you truly love someone, then you better be careful about spoken words that you can never take back. Celia intentionally does this to Evelyn just to hurt her and be even. I hated that. 

I’m not saying Evelyn is better. She was also a horrible person, very controlling and egotistic and she does some truly heinous things that are unforgivable in my book. 

Evelyn and Harry

This is probably my favourite relationship in the book. Their friendship is everything. They portrayed what loyalty and family really meant. They cared for each other and loved each other truly, and never did anything to hurt each other unlike Celia to Evelyn. They were always there for each other and it truly broke me when Evelyn lost Harry to the accident, and when she went to his grave to weep during Celia’s funeral. Their friendship was so rare, beyond what my vocabulary can describe.

Evelyn and Monique / Plot Twist

I have to admit that I was expecting some kind of plot twist, but I did not expect it to be this. I was angry with what Evelyn did to protect Harry’s reputation. It made me mad at what she took from poor Monique. All those years that Monique thought it was her father’s doing that got him killed, when in reality he was a victim.

SCREEN ADAPTATION

In March 2022, Netflix announced a film adaptation is in the works. Taylor Jenkins Reid will executive produce the screen adaptation. No news yet on the release date. Read more HERE.

my rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING

Domestic abuse, sexism, homophobia, suicide

SOME QUOTES

“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.”

“That’s the part I was stuck in, the part where you accept the apology because it’s easier than addressing the root of the problem,”


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