Book review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo


Yness Martinez

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was written in 2017 by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Yness Martinez, Staff Reporter

Fame, beauty and riches, Evelyn Hugo has it all. What could she possibly want? What could she possibly have to hide? 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was written by Taylor Jenkins Reid in 2017, but recently gained more popularity through “BookTok.” This realistic fiction stand-alone takes place in  Hollywood in the 50s, where the lights are bright and an aspiring actor’s luck can change in a heartbeat.

Though it starts in modern day New York, the novel recounts the glamorous life of star and icon Evelyn Hugo. Monique Grant is a mid-level journalist challenged with writing Evelyn Hugo’s biography. After staying out of the public eye for years, Evelyn is finally ready to break the silence. But the question everyone’s asking is, “Why now? And why a nobody like Monique?”

The stand-alone tackles heavy topics like the battles of feminism over the decades, LGBTQ+ rights and the real cost of fame. Stepping into Evelyn’s life was like waking up in Vegas. She struggled, and clawed her way to success. I sacrificed everything for decades with her, but I also got to live vicariously through a life entirely different and unique from anyone in the real world. 

As one can expect from the title, Evelyn does have seven husbands over the course of her life. Going into this I thought about the timeline for these poor guys. Do they each get a decade or two? I wondered which ones only wanted her money. All of these questions and more were answered as I read, checking off the hubbies as I went.

I won’t say much about the end of the book to avoid spoilers, but I will say one part of the ending contains too much emotional strain on both characters for it to be accepted by the readers at the end of the book. 

Reid does a fantastic job at inserting the reader in the time and place of the novel by her use of dialogue. Her dictation and exceptional phrasing made me feel like I was truly experiencing the rebellious Evelyn, the loyal Harry Cameron and the irritable Don Adler. Whether it be casual conversation, or a screaming match between Evelyn and one of her lovers, I was so invested in the character’s development that I would forget the time passing around me. 

To be fair, my typical genre of choice is fantasy with strong world-building, so my endeavors in historical and realistic fiction are a bit limited. However, I cannot express my desire to experience the magic of Evelyn Hugo for the first time again enough. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid transforms the screen thrown upon old Hollywood by spinning a tale of luxury, sacrifice and the cost of making dreams come true through the eyes of the iconic Evelyn Hugo.