In her younger years, Evelyn Hugo was a Hollywood star that moved her way up in fame and fortune through ambition and tough decisions. Her many marriages were both famous and infamous. Now in her 70’s, she is ready to share her life story with Monique, a young journalist. The mystery as to why, and why now, the A-list celebrity chose this unknown magazine reporter to finally tell her tale to baffles the industry.
While the cover is gorgeous, I admit that it was a bit deceptive in the impression it had initially left with me. Before flipping to the first page, I had thought this was a book solely rooted in a historical fiction vibe. I have never been more glad to admit that I was wrong when I judged this book by its cover. Yes, the story takes place over the course of many decades, starting from Evelyn’s childhood growing up in Hell’s Kitchen, but the main narrative actually takes place in present day. In 2017, Evelyn is recounting her life to Monique over the course of a number of meetings.
Reid’s writing is phenomenal. She made me feel like I was reading about a real person in these pages and, like many others who had also read this book, I felt like I wanted to look up more about her online afterwards. I became obsessed with Evelyn Hugo. I couldn’t put this book down, needing to find out more about her interesting, and often scandalous, life.
Beyond the celebrity life story is a deeper theme of female empowerment. Not only did the titular character know from a young age what she wanted, she knew what kind of life she didn’t want. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo illustrates a lifetime of a woman striving to get what she wants, regardless of who or what is in the way of those goals.