‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,’ A Novel About the Immorality of Love

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a 2017 historical fiction novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The novel is about an aging Hollywood icon, Evelyn Hugo, who is ready to tell her truth.

Courtesy of goodreads.com

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is a 2017 historical fiction novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The novel is about an aging Hollywood icon, Evelyn Hugo, who is ready to tell her truth.

Soraya Bettencourt, Herald Reporter

Is it human to want to be loved? How do we justify our immoral actions? Author Taylor Jenkins Reid brings forth a powerful novel leaving readers with more questions after each new answer.

Jenkins Reid develops an unusually complicated protagonist in “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” carrying a lifetime of success, loss and hidden truths. Evelyn Hugo, the main character of the novel, uses her beauty to create opportunities for herself in 1960s Hollywood. Evelyn retells her life story through marriages and divorces; however, despite the infamous title, this is not what the book is truly about.

At age 79, Evelyn is ready to tell her story to rising journalist Monique Grant, who has an eerily suspicious connection to Evelyn’s tale. Evelyn has a secret that, throughout the novel, drives her to do everything she can think of to protect it. The book itself teaches about the consequences of hiding who you truly are. It demonstrates the importance of loving the ones that surround you before it is too late.

At first glance, Evelyn Hugo is an arrogant and insensitive character. She mistreats the people she encounters for selfish gain. Putting her acting career above all else has brought Evelyn a lot of success in her lifetime. However, when her success starts to fade, she realizes all that truly mattered were the people she allowed to leave. She did what she thought was right at the time and was victimized by circumstance. After all the trauma, Evelyn is ready to put everything behind her for good without any regret at all.

Jenkins Reid successfully builds Evelyn’s character and concludes her growth by the end of the novel in the only way that makes sense. Jenkins Reid’s decision to switch between the first-person narratives of journalist Monique Grant and Evelyn Hugo encourages readers to put together the pieces of the puzzle with each turn of the page, making this novel hard to put down. It will transport you to a new decade and life, forcing you to read until the shocking end.

Fans love the exploration of the time period and the complication that the main character brings to the story. The novel is intriguing, irritating, heart-wrenching and ultimately loveable. The back-and-forth emotional tone keeps readers picking up the book just one more time in between class or work to find out what happens next. This novel will keep readers talking about it long after the last word has been read, and should be on any book lover’s shelf.