The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Review) // Retro Hollywood, bisexuality, intrigue

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 jumpstart her career, Monique listens in fascination. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave 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 near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likeable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendour 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.

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Everyone has been telling me to read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and I’m so glad I finally did? Going in, this book was not at all what I expected, but that isn’t a bad thing. I think part of the book’s appeal is that its key themes aren’t immediately apparent from reading the synopsis. Despite being set and centered around the past, many of the themes in this book will resound with readers of today. The Hollywood setting is well done, full of sparkle and drive.

Long story short, this is a book celebrating bisexuality. What better way to illustrate this than with a quote, from the one and only Evelyn Hugo? “I’m bisexual. Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box.” Evelyn is a complex character, and there are as many hidden layers to this story as there are to the main character Evelyn Hugo herself. As the book is told from Monique’s point of view we only really get to see Evelyn from Monique’s perspective and from Evelyn’s recounts of the past. Nonetheless, Taylor Jenkins Reid is able to portray a layered, mysterious main character who is never who she seems to be.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo may stem from an ambitious concept, but it is outrageously daring and an unapologetic celebration of those who are different. The more I read, the more it became apparent to me that there’s so much more to this story than I’d originally thought. The diary setting combined with the parts specifically focused on Evelyn’s life are vividly imagined and certainly come to life. I shall say to you what so many others have said to be already: go read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. You won’t regret it.

What’s a book that wasn’t what you expected? Did its unexpectedness make you like it more or less?


2 thoughts on “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Review) // Retro Hollywood, bisexuality, intrigue

  1. AHH yes! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed Evelyn Hugo, I loved your review. I agree so much that there are so many layers to this story and, as you go on, you realize it slowly and it’s so wonderful. I adore how the author is able to create these three dimensional, flawed characters that just feel SO damn real!

    Liked by 1 person

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