The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Historical > Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, and Fiction > Adult Fiction
Reclusive Hollywood 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 to write her story, no one is more astounded than Monique herself.
Determined to use this opportunity to jump-star her career, Monique listens in fascination. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to leaving 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. But as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life interacts with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (RealSimple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the sobering realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means — and what it costs — to face the truth.
Alright, I’m doing it.
I’m finally going to read the novel that shook up the book world, and united everyone in it.
Thoughts While Reading
“Her life seems a little sad”
“Oh, alright then”
“Have fun, don’t die”
“Evelyn seems fun”
“Let’s get into it”
“This is already sad okay”
“I mean . . . woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do”
“Doesn’t make it any less sad”
“I’m feeling profound while reading this”
“Wow my head hurts why am I reading in a car”
“I’m not stopping though”
“They seem good together”
“OH MY GOD NEVER MIND THEY AREN’T GOOD TOGETHER”
“I’m kicking some Adler ass”
“Why are men like this”
“Harry is nice I like him”
“Gay, bisexual, AND lesbian legends have arrived, I love this”
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE GOING TO HATE HER HUH”
“I am: scared”
“I am: SAD”
“Oh my god”
“OH MY GOD”
My thoughts turned pretty incoherent at this point so just imagine keyboard smashing for like, 12 pages. We pick up around the ending —
“Harry’s lover was . . . him?!”
“Oh my god”
“So Evelyn . . . to save him . . . she aklfj;alkfwln”
“Yeah I would be pretty pissed to”
“She’s going to kill herself”
“I had a hunch but it’s confirmed now and I —“
“That ending quote in her excerpt I’m gasping”
Maybe I cried.
Favorite Quote from the Novel
“I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and could see, in no uncertain terms, that I was beautiful. But it didn’t mean anyone loved me.”— Evelyn Hugo, page 205
Pretty Truthful for a Fiction Book
I mean many things by this point so this one is going to be long!
1.) The Truth of Divorce, Love, Sexuality, Sexual Orientation, Tragedy, and Our Own Dirty Little Secrets
Everyone has experienced struggles that go along with at least one of these things — some of us have experienced all of them.
Some know what it’s like when you can’t get out of bed because of a person close to you’s death or an awful situation befalling you or someone you love. Some know how hard you have to cover your ears to block out the sound of your parent’s fighting. Some know the beauty of falling in love, and all the pain that goes along with it. Some know what it’s like to question the norm of heterosexuality. Some know how it feels to not feel anything when society deems you to, and feel so much when society deems it as wrong. Some know the feeling of waking up with a permanent ache in your chest because you can’t bare to share you secrets.
This is why this novel is for everyone. This is why Taylor Jenkins Reid has single-handedly united every single type of book reader — because we are all familiar with at least one way to break the human heart.
2.) This Probably Happened
There really isn’t any doubt in my mind some elements of Evelyn and her little family’s lives happened to someone in 1950s-1980s Hollywood.
*** SPOILER BEGINS ***
There was probably a Hollywood star who couldn’t love the woman she wanted the way she deserved to, they deserved to.
There was probably a black man secretly dating a white, male Hollywood producer.
There was probably an unfortunate soul who was blamed for a mistake that another person made, and it changed that man’s family forever.
Men probably (not even probably but for the sake of format) still beat their wives because they were uncomfortable with strong and capable women and couldn’t handle that they could succeed (Toxic masculinity ruins the party again).
And so much more.
*** SPOILER ENDS ***
So while this story goes out to us, this story also goes out to them. The people who never got their stories told because the world wasn’t ready. We’re listening now.
This is for them.
Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think Evelyn is a good person, at least not traditionally “good”. But I think she did what she had to do to survive, to thrive. She took nothing and made it something, time and time again, and that is why she’s my favorite character — because she knows how survive.
Final Review and Rating
I was scared I wouldn’t like this novel. Primarily because a lot of people did and that intimidated me. But I guess we won’t have to worry about that.
Would/Will I Continue the Series?
I don’t believe there is anything left to say about Evelyn’s life — she told it all to Monique, who told it all to us. I’m content with that.
Who Should Read This Novel
If you haven’t truly been reading, then I’ll just give you it again in fine print — everyone should read this novel.
What about this novel did you connect with most? Or do you think you’ll connect with most?
- I think I connected with Evelyn’s need to be more than expected the most. I’ve always had the need to be more than what I am, to be capable of leaving a mark on this world.