Fiction

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoI have to admit that I do not love the cover of this book and had it not been for all those excellent reviews, I would have probably not picked it up. I am so glad I gave this book a chance despite of that cover… ๐Ÿ™‚

So what is this book all about?

There are two fictional story-lines.ย One is told by Evelyn, a famous Hollywood actress that takes us back to the 50’s Hollywood and tells us her story about her husbands. Another isย told byย Monique,ย who is writing Evelynโ€™s memoir. Monique is a reporter, who is hoping to make a name for herself one day and is eagerly awaiting her lucky break. As Evelyn shares more of her past with her, we start seeing Monique‘s growth, something I always appreciate when reading about a character.

What are the book’s main themes?

I saw behind it a manifesto of how important is to have courage to be true to who we are. To have courage to be judged, ridiculed, outcast even, and to still stand holding our heads high despite all of that.

I also saw there a question about what a true freedom actually really is.

We are never truly free until we can admit, in front of everyone, who we are. When we stop playing it safe and let others see the real us.

โ€œPeople think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.โ€ย 

Then there is a feminist theme present throughout the entire book. Evelyn belongs to her husbands before she can belong to herself. She gets abused by men, has to behave certain way, must ask for permissions.

We know from the bookโ€™s title that Evelyn has had seven husbands. The story explores, who was the love of her life. We get to hear the answer quite early on in the book but still, I donโ€™t want to spoil it for anyone, who hasnโ€™t read it yet so I will not talk too much about it.

The revelation is then, what the entire story centres around.

Imagine you found the love of your life. Imagine your perception of being with that person was skewed by how the society would perceive you, should you decide to follow your heart. Would you follow your heart?

โ€œSometimes reality comes crashing down on you. Other times reality simply waits, patiently, for you to run out of the energy it takes to deny it.โ€

There are many moral dilemmas and many philosophical questions presented. Something I immensely appreciated.

This book made me think. And I loved it.

Evelyn is a very complex character. She sometimes uses people; she takes her chances whenever she can. And she is utterly unapologetic about it, saying she would happily do it again. She accepts herself for who she isโ€ฆ. yet.. there are subtle regrets. Regrets about wasted years, regrets about certain decisions.

โ€œIf I want things to change, I have to change how I do things. And probably drastically.โ€ย 

I saw a woman, who grew up poor, who was abused and who was highly driven to succeed. And sometimes she would walk over whoever would stand in her way. I disliked her for that, but her ability to admit it and to own it, made me interested in her. She is not likeable but thatโ€™s what I actually liked about her.

I also saw a lot of irony behind some of Evelyn‘s decisions. She was driven to succeed but her definition of success may have not necessarily made her happy. She later on admitted that her regrets were not related to money but rather to people.

Another message that resonated with me as I think it’s really important to define what our own definitions of success are.

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a highly atmospheric read. We are thrown into the lush and vibrant world of glamorous Hollywood during 50โ€™s.ย There is also a lot of diversity involved, its pace is quick and it isย a character driven story that reads fairly easily and could still be a great summer read.

Recommended: YES! This book will make you think. ๐Ÿ™‚

Trigger warnings: domestic abuse, child abuse


  • Have you readย Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo?
  • What is your favourite summer 2018 read so far? Fancy sharing that with me? ๐Ÿ™‚

30 thoughts on “Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid”

    1. I really hope you enjoy it Alex. It is quite an entertaining read. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad I’m not the only one whose not keen on the cover! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  1. Never judge a book by its cover rings true here, as your review tells us there’s a great deal more substance to this one than meets the eye. Still, I’m not sure I’ll be reading it. It just doesn’t sound like my cup of tea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true Alex.

      I get it, it’s sometimes better to stay away from something that doesn’t sound like we would enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hope you are enjoying your time off! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My TBR is threatening to topple, so i really need to be reading more, but when the sun is shining bright, it’s difficult to concentrate! โ˜บ๏ธ

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Same here! I have been spending so much time outside due to the lovely weather we have been having and long evenings… my reading has slowed down a lot and my TBR pile has increased. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. ๐Ÿ˜€ I feel like I’m usually reading everything that everyone else has read already. ๐Ÿ™‚ Really hoping you will enjoy this book Leslie, it’s a good summer read. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your review took me right back to the Joan Fontaine autobiography I just reviewed. She was a Hollywood actress (though she did stage acting, too) and typically got married because single women couldn’t have male visitors unless they were going to get married — and did so as fast as possible.

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    1. I was actually thinking about Evelyn when I was reading your review of that autobiography! ๐Ÿ™‚ Even though Evelyn is a fictional character, she is based on quite a few actresses of that time for sure.

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  3. Lovely review! Such an interesting point about defining a successful life yourself for yourself. I loved the book but the cover is eh take it or leave if for me. The green dress always reminds me of Atonement though ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thanks Gemma. ๐Ÿ˜Š Same here about the cover, I did not think about Atonement but now you mentioned it, I can not unsee it! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘Œ

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  4. Just like you, i dismissed this cuz of the cover.
    But now I’m interested! Self discovery and becoming true to ourselves and accepting ourselves is a topic I’ve been researching and reading about for a while now, and if it’s fiction, it’s even better, cuz nonfiction tends to get boring after a few chapters.
    Lovely review!๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. โค๏ธ I really wish they used a different cover, this one immediately makes me think โ€˜not my thingโ€™. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ™ˆ

      Me too! โ€˜Who am Iโ€™ is currently my favourite question.๐Ÿ˜Š Circe was really good as the characters entire story was centred around her self-discovery. Itโ€™s a slow story but amazingly written full of those philosophical questions.

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  5. I think it’s that shade of green on the cover that turns me off. ๐Ÿ˜› And I’m so glad this book lived up to expectations for you!! I have a soft spot for female protagonists (in any genre!) who do unlikable, even terrible things to survive in a society that’s built for men, and Evelyn sounds so complex and interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Evelyn is such a complex character and her growing up during that time meant either becoming an obedient wife or someone society would frown upon. There are so many moral and philosophical questions presented… such a good book. ๐Ÿ˜Š And he he, I totally blame that shade of green too! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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  6. Oh, what a beautiful review! I have in fact seen this book around, and you’ve just made me very interested in reading it. I love it when an author explores themes of regrets by reflecting on a character’s life, and it seems like this this protagonist ventures into some (morally?) gray areas, which always fascinates me. Lovely breakdown! I love how carefully you unfold this book’s themes and messages without giving away its plot. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much lovely for you kind words, they always make my day. What a nice way for me to wake up today whilst reading your comment. โค๏ธ

      Morally ambiguous areas are my favourite thing. It may have something to do with my philosophy obsession but I just love exploring them and thinking about them. ๐Ÿ˜Š

      I really hope you will enjoy it should you decide to give it a go. It took me a while to get into it but it was a satisfying read in the end. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same! Books that incorporate philosophy are always so intriguing to me, and they end up being my favorites in the long run. I’ll definitely give this a go! Cheers! ๐Ÿ˜ โค

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Umut. โค๏ธ The trigger warnings are mentioned in this book but the focus is not on them. Itโ€™s not a brutal story of an abuse. The primary focus is on characters decisions around their careers and choices of their partners. ๐Ÿ’•

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