Review of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid's novel offers a dual timeline, immersive Old Hollywood detail, a forbidden love, and revelations and long-held secrets that seem destined to shake up everything for our modern-day main protagonist.
I listened to Taylor Jenkins Reid's The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo as an audiobook.
Evelyn Hugo is a reclusive, extremely famous Old Hollywood movie star, and she's finally ready to tell the story of her life--all the heartbreak, career maneuvering, mistakes, joys, victories, the sordid details of her many marriages, and the story of her one true love.
She plucks Monique Grant, a promising young magazine writer, out of relative obscurity for the writing job, offering incredibly lucrative terms and making demands about having the biography released only after her death.
Monique can't figure out why she's been trusted to tell Evelyn's story, nor does she understand the multiple allusions Evelyn makes regarding her certainty that Monique will come to hate her by the end of her roller coaster of a tale.
As is often the case for me with stories structured around dual timelines, I felt more invested in one time period than the other--in this case, I was entranced by the immersive Old Hollywood era of the book more so than in the modern bookends of Monique's documentation of Evelyn's stories.
Monique displayed a consistent, grating aw-shucks quality that was important to the character's development, and while she shed this in favor of self-confidence by the end of the book, it felt grating to me.
Modern-day Evelyn felt abrasive, selfish, and irritatingly and purposely obtuse in multiple instances. While I can get behind unapologetic terseness and a straightforward manner, Evelyn frequently came across as willfully bull-headed in an unsympathetic way.
Jenkins Reid focuses much of the page time in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo on the fascinating dynamics of Evelyn's romantic and professional relationships, which were without question my favorite aspect of the book. This was a fast, captivating read.
Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?
Reid's upcoming novel Carrie Soto is Back is set for publication in August; stay tuned for that Bossy review.