REVIEW: ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,’ tells gripping tale of a public yet mysterious life


Graphic Ellie O'Connor

Staff writer Maddie Peoples writes that “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid is an intriguing story about fame and romance.

Madeline Peoples, Staff Writer

With scandalous affairs, best friends who become lovers, a fiery car crash and the personal life of an elusive public figure, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is an escape into drama and romance which will keep you turning the pages.

Spanning decades of a fictional Hollywood starlet’s life, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” tells the story of Evelyn Hugo and her mysterious life in the public eye. Monique Grant is a novice journalist who aspires to one day become recognized for her work, so when the legendary Evelyn Hugo, who rarely speaks with the press, requests to see her for a potential opportunity, although suspicious and confused, Grant jumps at the chance. Over time, Grant builds a relationship with Hugo that uncovers more about both her and Hugo’s life than she ever could have imagined. 

The novel is split into seven parts, one for each husband, with each section detailing the relationship between Hugo and that particular individual. The novel spans almost 80 years of Hugo’s tumultuous life, and the titles of each section also add a bit of suspense: Reid uses words such as “gullible” to preview the type of person the husband will be and how Hugo’s life will change from her relationship with him. 

The structure of the novel’s seven parts also helps to organize the very discombobulated format in which the novel is written. For instance, the changes in perspectives between Grant in the current day and Hugo’s point of view from various eras in the past can be confusing at times. Each section uncovers something new about Hugo’s prior life and shares raw and honest moments from her life that all build to connect to one moment in the story. 

Throughout the book’s 390 pages, the reader is taken on an emotional and suspenseful rollercoaster of events that never would have been anticipated. The plot develops as Hugo’s life goes on and the reader sees just how much her relationships can change her perspective on her own life. From her relationships with other fictional movie stars such as Don Adler to her short-lived marriage to Max Gerard, Hugo develops an understanding for herself and realizes that what she truly wants in life has been right in front of her the whole time. 

There is no denying the traction that this novel has gained, especially as of late. Published in 2017, the novel has recently gained a lot more recognition, especially on social media, and was also named Goodreads Choice Award for best historical fiction on three separate occasions. The biggest reason many have been captivated by this story is because of its shocking plot twist that completely changes the narrative. The development of Hugo’s character helps to further encourage the novel’s mysterious elements. 

Although the book contains many mature topics and it can be hard to get used to the shifting narration, the reading level is engaging and enjoyable. The story’s themes of self-discovery and morality with plenty of scandal keep the plot moving effortlessly, which makes the novel so captivating and a favorite among book lovers.