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Sydney Books reviews ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar

Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar

Sold as a historical fiction novel set in the time of old Hollywood, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is a must-read not just for those in a reading slump, but for anyone needing a new book to become attached to.

It is hard not to fall in love with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s multi-dimensional characters, even Evelyn Hugo herself, who acknowledges her flaws before anyone else can.

Upon opening the book, the first few chapters are from the point of view of Monique Grant, a journalist who we learn is in an ongoing divorce with her husband. It is in these chapters that we learn about movie star and film legend Evelyn Hugo, who Monique is allowed to write a story about.

As Monique is getting the story straight from Evelyn Hugo herself, the reader gets thrown into Hugo’s life in a timeline based around the seven husbands she had in her lifetime.

As the book is dissected into parts, each part being named after a husband, the reader can start to see that the plot is not focused on the husbands at all, but on the experiences Evelyn Hugo faces coming into the Hollywood scene.

And then the reader is introduced to Celia St. James.

Going into this book with the idea of an old, traditional time period and a title that involves ‘husbands,’ one may not expect the twist Celia has on Evelyn’s life. That she is, in fact, the love of her life.

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” gives a beautifully written love story between two women who had to overcome troublesome Hollywood issues, as well as hiding their relationship from the public eye.

As the relationship holds against time skips and obstacles, we learn so much about each character Reid writes about so clearly.

Besides the main character being a bisexual woman, other representations are presented in characters like Harry Cameron, a Hollywood director and Evelyn’s best friend.

Though the beginning of the book reveals in a snippet of an article that Harry is one of Evelyn’s husbands, reading further, we learn of the platonic nature between the characters and the importance of their friendship.

One thing Reid does well is striking emotion in scenes that require it.

One moment the reader can be reading about a scene set happily at a wedding, then the last paragraph before the chapter ends will give you whiplash as the tone shifts to something more depressive.

Besides the number of emotional turn arounds thrown at the reader, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has a multitude of scenes to hang on to and quote in everyday life.

Coming from a reading slump and hopping right into the pages of this novel, I was able to read the entire thing in one sitting.

The chapters really do begin to flow as you read and get lost in each scene, seeming as though you really are there in that time period with those characters. A book like “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is one that anyone can fall in love with if given the chance.

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