A deep dive into the glamour of Old Hollywood, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid tells of the life of fictional movie star Evelyn Hugo.
One of the biggest names in the world, yet a mystery to everyone, Evelyn spent her young life keeping big secrets. Once her name stopped appearing in every headline, her movies were mostly outdated. As old age creeps in on her, she decides she is ready to tell the truth about her life. To do so, she enlists the help of rookie journalist Monique Grant to write her tell-all story. Even Monique struggles to comprehend why Evelyn would pick her for such a groundbreaking story, leaving the reader to question what it is about Monique that has captured Evelyn’s attention. Regardless, Monique accepts the offer with certainty that it will help her career take off.
The book jumps back and forth from Monique’s life and interactions with Evelyn, to Evelyn’s past life, as she divulges her secrets to Monique. Each chapter highlights one of her seven husbands and answers the impending question: who is Evelyn’s one true love? The book is not about her husbands at all. It is about her life and career in Hollywood and everything she has endured along the way. The husbands form the backdrop for what is an organized timeline of Evelyn’s life, from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to ending her career in the 80s. As Evelyn says in the book, “...they are just husbands. I am Evelyn Hugo.”
After spending her whole life trying to please others and doing everything in her power to get people's respect in an industry that prioritizes the physical appearance of women, Evelyn formed an image for herself that was anything but realistic. It forced her to keep secrets that threatened her relationships and happiness. Evelyn proposes the question of whether fame is worth having to hide who you truly are and lose the parts of yourself that seem to matter most.
Evelyn is a fascinating character with a riveting story, and Reid’s writing makes one feel as though she is anything but fictional. You will be sucked into the lives of these characters and they will be part of you long after you close the book.
“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is not a traditional romance story or a basic Hollywood read. It is a story about friendship, love, secrets and loss that tackles real world issues in a tragic and heartbreaking yet beautiful and profound way. Once you start it, you will not be able to put it down. So, clear your schedules and pick up “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.”