By David T. Valentin
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
Narrated by Alma Cuervo, Julia Whelan,
and Robin Miles
If you’re looking for something equal parts charming, romantic, emotional and life changing, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the book for you.
The book follows the life of Evelyn Hugo, an aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon, ready to finally tell the truth of her glamorous and often gossiped life. When Evelyn requests Monique, a writer and journalists stagnant in her career recently divorce, the young journalist is determined to use this opportunity as a jump-start to her career. As Monique thrusts herself into Evelyn’s life, with the simple question of, “Who was the love of your life?” After seven husbands, we learn how, closeted bisexual Evelyn Hugo, was forced to jump through hoops to keep both her hard-fought career and her love of a woman intact in a time where LGBTQ+ people were under attack.
One way to explain this very complicated story with complicated characters (in the best of ways, of course) is seductive. The interview-like style of the book seduces you into the charm of Evelyn Hugo as she describes what it was like to be a beautiful young aspiring actress in the middle of the 20th century. Throughout the novel, you are often inspired by her willingness to protect what and whom she loves, while also being disappointed at her mistakes as she exchanges true friendships and relationships for success at all costs. But it’s balanced, and it shapes not only Evelyn as a likeable, complicated character, but the side characters as well.
The end of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is guaranteed to leave you feeling both inspired and intrigued by the lives of others around us—most importantly, how little we know the truth and what others are going. The end of the book reminds us of the complexity of the human condition and left me wanting to continue being kinder to those we might easily try to judge from their appearances or from the word of gossip from others.