Review: ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ illustrates struggles women face in society

Tik Tok’s popularized historical fiction analyzes feminine climb toward success


Courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” explores the trials and tribulations of life in Hollywood. Reid illustrates the true meaning of love in a society where it was synonymous to a crime. 

The book follows first year writer, Monique Grant, who’s suddenly chosen by famous Hollywood “it-girl,” Evelyn Hugo, to write a story. Only to discover she’d be writing Evelyn’s life story: the good, the bad and the ugly. However, the question is why does Evelyn want Monique specifically to write it? 

In telling her story, all of the secrets and lies behind Evelyn Hugo’s success would be exposed, as would the one true love from all of her seven marriages. 

Evelyn has great character development, however, makes countless decisions that could have been handled better and yet, she says, “I don’t regret many of the lies I told or the people I hurt. I’m OK with the fact that doing the right thing gets ugly.”

Evelyn begins by recounting everything she’d done to get out of Hell’s Kitchen to being the No.1 paid actor and legend in Hollywood. Through each marriage readers see new sides of who Evelyn really was, not her iconic image.

“Evelyn always leaves you hoping you’ll get just a little bit more,” Monique said. “And she always denies you.” 

Through Evelyn, readers are taken on a journey through decades of fame, money and love, but at the cost of who she was and at the cost of her happiness. After Evelyn realized she was bisexual, she spent the rest of her life hiding that. She loved one woman for the remainder of her life and spent three marriages covering that fact. 

Readers are left heartbroken to see the beginning of their relationship as friends and then to watch them fall for each other without knowing it. Even as they got together, the times were against them — tearing their relationship apart leaving readers screaming into pillows and gasping for air. 

The entire book elaborates on sexuality, not only of who people love, but the way people see one another in the light of desire and attraction. It makes the reader think of the way people unconsciously become attracted to people in ways that aren’t just about physicality or romanticism, but of interest — of wanting that real connection and trust. 

Reid wrote such a compelling story, constantly throwing readers into upsetting situations tugging at heartstrings, forcing readers to read on, but struggling not to throw the book. 

Evelyn’s decisions are understandable, yet so annoying because time and time again she does things to her advantage, but at others expenses. Despite having helped people, it was never about their success, but her name. However, the times she did things that weren’t for her were the most beautifully heart wrenching moments of the book. Evelyn’s relationship with Celia St. James and Harry Cameron were the epitome of what true friendship and love really is. 

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” throws readers for a ride, keeping them sprung until the end, where Evelyn dies. 

Reids ability to know just how much information to give, hold and just how detailed to give about certain things proves “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” to be a 10/10 romantic historical fiction, highly recommended.