5 July 2022

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This month English teacher, Mrs Webster, has sent in her 'pick' and this one's for parents...

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways… 

One of the lovely things about this book is how real Evelyn Hugo feels to the reader - I nearly googled her! Every relationship, both romantic and platonic that Hugo reflects upon, is full of personality and charm, even when dark themes are discussed. Evelyn Hugo as a character herself is flawed. Her relationships and attitudes towards people demonstrate that she is not the embodiment of perfection that Hollywood starlets are generally perceived to be.  

I liked the mixed prose, varying from Monique’s point of view to flashbacks as Evelyn recalls past events. The novel also includes ‘articles’, which makes it feel like you are living in that time, reading a celebrity gossip page. The book explores themes of romance, intimacy, and friendship alongside sexuality, racism and motherhood- definitely one to read!  

Mrs Webster
English Teacher

Not on AR

Tags: English