The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo was a novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, an author who became one of my favorites last year. In this novel, famous screen legend, Evelyn Hugo wanted to tell her life story to newbie journalist Monique. I liked Evelyn immediately once I realized that she was modeled after Elizabeth Taylor and shared a similar romantic background. As I got further into the novel I started to believe using Elizabeth Taylor’s life for Evelyn was intentional because liking Evelyn was crucial to liking this book.
There were some big plot surprises included here and they worked because I felt sympathetic toward Evelyn and would have gone along with almost any secret she wanted to unburden herself with.
The author allowed both protagonists to be narrators. Evelyn’s life story was narrated by her as she explained it to Monique. Those chapters read like the memoir of a movie star with references to the studio system, becoming box office poison, and the backlash of the tabloids. Her portrayal of Hollywood had a talkative feel to it and were immensely enjoyable for an old Hollywood fan like me!
Monique’s chapters were pretty focused on her nervousness of taking the steps required to tell Evelyn’s story, namely quitting her job. Those portions also showed Evelyn in the present to make the reader understand why she wanted to tell her big secret. More importantly, the interactions between Evelyn and Monique had the positive impact of helping her gain the confidence to take control of her life and start living.
This was one of those novels where the characters were the draw. I was so captivated by Evelyn’s experiences as a major star in Hollywood that I devoured this in one day.
Ultimately, I liked the message of the novel and appreciated the journey.