The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Image Source:

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Fiction, Romance

This time around, I picked a book that I would not usually choose- a romance novel! While I’ve read romance novels before, the past year and a half has been mostly about self-help books, so it was a refreshing break to dive into a different genre. It took me a week to finish this book, but I am sure if I hadn’t been occupied with work, I could have finished it within 2 days at most, meaning it was an easy, but captivating read. Since this is an interesting book, I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I am going to be very cautious about the review of this book!

Evelyn Hugo, a legendary Hollywood actress at the age of 79 years old embodies the epitome of glamour and elegance. She has graced the silver screen since the 1950s, establishing herself as a powerhouse character. Bold, beautiful, alluring, ambitious, and cunning, Evelyn Elena Herrera, was born to Cuban immigrants in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Making her way to Hollywood, she establishes herself as Evelyn Hugo, a name that eventually becomes known in every American household.

Evelyn’s life is scandalous and far from perfect. With a hunger for wealth and power, she prioritizes fame and attention, leading her to make some questionable decisions in her life. Yet, she remains unapologetically true to herself. She does not regret (most of) the choices that have shaped her into Evelyn Hugo. She is radically honest, and her character evokes a range of emotions within readers. At times, I judged her, questioned her decisions, and perceived her as mean and selfish. However, Evelyn is also bold, daring, kind, generous, and loving! By the end of this book, you cannot help but love her. Evelyn is that character!

In 2017, Evelyn seeks out Monique Grant, a struggling writer at Vivant magazine, to disclose the truth of her life. Monique is incredibly surprised as to why a Hollywood Star as big as Evelyn Hugo would choose her for such a significant scoop, possibly the most important in her entire writing career. Nevertheless, Monique embraces this opportunity and eventually agrees to write an autobiography of Evelyn, which will be published upon her death. Through Evelyn’s story and her profound wisdom and perspectives on life, Monique gains new understandings about herself and her relationship with her husband, David. There were instances in the book where I felt that the advice Evelyn gave was not only applicable to Monique but also resonated with me as a reader. The answers to why Monique was chosen unfold towards the end of the book that leaves one’s eyes and mouth wide open. At least, I felt that way!

As Evelyn unveils the truth of her life, she begins with her childhood in Hell’s Kitchen and takes us through her Hollywood journey, including her marriages to seven different husbands. There is a chapter dedicated to each husband, so readers will get detailed insights into why she married them and under what circumstances. However, the burning question that Monique asks is about Evelyn’s true love. And this is where I should not spoil the book for you. You will have to find out for yourself who Evelyn’s true love is!

I personally thought the book got better and better in the second half. As the story progressed, I developed a deeper sense of compassion and empathy towards Evelyn because I could understand the motivations behind her action. Research indicates reading fiction tends to cultivate more empathy in readers than reading non-fiction, and I believe I experienced that firsthand. Evelyn was young and she had to make choices in life to protect herself and her loved ones. While she was flawed and she could have done a few things differently, I also saw her as a human being. All her choices, decisions, and mistakes only made her more human and nothing less. The last few chapters of this book were everything. In the end, the writer reveals the complex intersection of Evelyn’s and Monique’s lives, and all the dots get connected at once!

To summarize, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is the kind of book that you won’t want to put down once you start it. If you decide to read it, I would love to hear your thoughts and discuss the book with you! And if you must know, my personal favorite among Evelyn’s seven husbands was her 5th husband! 😊

Happy Reading! See you in the next blog!