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Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorite authors: her characters are authentic and her stories can be heart-wrenching but hopeful at the same time. Her previous books, Forever, Interrupted, After I Do, Maybe In Another Life and One True Loves, are each worth a read as they feature contemporary settings and every day protagonists. However, those books are a bit different from her latest one, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which takes place both in the present and the past. But it’s just as fantastic, if not even more so.

This novel is a huge undertaking of a fictional actress (think Elizabeth Taylor) finally ready to tell the world the truth about her glamour-and-scandal-filled life from Old Hollywood. Here’s the synopsis:

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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—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.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for “creating complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), 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.

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This book is an experience and will make you feel all kinds of emotions with plenty of surprises along the way.

Evelyn is deeply flawed, selfish, complicated but I still rooted for her. Her ‘one true love’ was unexpected and it’s a beautiful but tragic story. I read this one several months back and I’m still thinking about it—  it’s one of those books that will stay with you for a long time and you’ll forget that Evelyn is in fact a fictional character. If you haven’t read this one yet, you have to add it to your reading list and let me know what you think.