Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

“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.”
― Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Book Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication Date: 2017
Genres: Adult Fiction, LGBTQ+
Goodreads Rating: 4.29 Stars
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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 in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating 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 takes—to face the truth.

1. THIS BOOK STUCK WITH ME. Ok, so honestly, I’m writing this review a whole three months after I read this book. It was my June Book of the Month, and I read it almost immediately and I loved it. I’ve been having this post sitting in my drafts folder since June, and I knew I would get around to writing it because this book stuck with me. I’m hesitant to say it, but this may have been my favorite book of the year (maybe a close second to The Handmaid’s Tale).

2. Evelyn Hugo is a boss lady. Evelyn Hugo is a rich woman, a former movie star with the notoriety of Marilyn Monroe. She has a quiet elegance and accepts no bullshit, and I love her so much. Her past (the whole sordid thing) truly struck me, but it had much more to do with the way she unabashedly tells her story and her inability to accept any judgement passed on her that truly, truly shook me. I would have felt like Monique in this book — a bit starstruck, a bit of imposter syndrome, a bit of what-have-I-got-myself-into — when dealing with this woman.

3. And MONIQUE. Homegirl felt very real to me. Her personal life is in shambles. Her career is not really taking off like she thought it would. She had very little confidence in herself and her abilities. Through Evelyn Hugo’s story, Monique grows and her confidence builds, and by the end of it, she is totally rocking. I don’t think that’s a spoiler to tell you that…

4. I want to say so much more, but spoilers. Honestly, I don’t want to ruin the book for you, dear reader, because I’m telling you that this is a book you need to read. It is gripping and the characters are flawed and the plot line is unexpected and I just really, really enjoyed this book.

Evelyn Hugo is a no-nonsense boss-lady and her story will enchant you.

“Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”

“Do you understand what I’m telling you? 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. If you learn one thing from me, it should probably be that.”

“It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.”

“Sometimes reality comes crashing down on you. Other times reality simply waits, patiently, for you to run out of the energy it takes to deny it.”

“If I want things to change, I have to change how I do things. And probably drastically.”

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