The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo: Worth The Hype?

Read it for the history, read it for the hype, but for me, The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo wasn’t all I was promised.

Name: The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published: 2017

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.

I did not read the blurb of this book. That’s the problem with Booktok: all I’d seen was that people had loved it. I saw the title, saw that gorgeous green dress, saw #bestsapphicbookoftheyear under reviews and bought it. Maybe this is more a problem with me, but I’m blaming booktok! I bought it on Waterstones, might I add, seeing as it was £20 on Amzon. £20! For just the paperback! (Amazon’s dwindling rivals in the bookselling industry and their subsequent ability to hike up prices to whatever they want is slightly terrifying. But problem for another post.) In my silly, not-reading-blurb-properly head this was a cute, heartwarming love story about two actresses in Golden Hollywood. I mean, I really should have read that sentence through a couple of times… but I was in for shock.

In short, read the blurb kids.

It’s sad! So sad! The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo was heartbreaking at points and not what I expected at all. There are some incredible moments, some devastating one liners and a few scenes that almost made me burst into tears. Do you think the ripped out newspapers are all the ones they kept of each other? If I’m continuing with positives, the bisexual representation and queer rep in general was phenomenal. While I’m sure there are books out there, but I’d never read a fictional book about queer Golden Age Hollywood. After reading this, I’ll have to look more into it. The queer history was more of a subplot, but brilliantly written too. The author writes super well as a celebrity – I think Daisy Jones and The Six is also about celebrities? (If you’ve read that, let me know in the comments because I’m stuck if I should give Reid another chance). As a reader, you feel like Taylor Jenkins Reid really understands the tumultuous world of showbiz, like you’re getting all the insider secrets. All the gold and glamour of old Hollywood.

“Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box. Don’t do that.”


So why didn’t I like the story? Well, it all came down to the writing style. It ruined the book for me. It felt too…bare? The narrative voice reads like speech, which I suppose is intended, but that was a problem. It’s too…clinical? In real life, you wouldn’t use metaphors and similes when describing people, places, experiences as you’re speaking. (That would just be weird. Can you image describing your day with pastoral imagery and a semantic field of food?). But it’s a book. Metaphorical language isn’t a requirement but I want some description! It’s so difficult to empathise and enjoy the romance when I know next to nothing about Celia. She’s blonde. An actress. The love of Evelyn’s life… but why? The writing style meant there was next to no description so the characters stayed very two dimensional, which was why the story failed for me.

It sounds snobby, and it’s probably only because I’m pretty young myself, but I wasn’t expecting how long the book lasted. Again, should have thought it through – those 7 husbands aren’t going to happen in a few weeks. It threw me off a little.

“You do not know how fast you have been running, how hard you have been working, how truly exhausted you are, until somewhat stands behind you and says, “It’s OK, you can fall down now. I’ll catch you.”


Past the writing, I didn’t enjoy Celia and Evelyn together as much as reviewers on Booktok promised. Celia was mean! I just couldn’t picture them together – although I’m still blaming that on Celia being 2D from the writing. The women are together for a little at the beginning, but that taste wasn’t a delicacy I particularly enjoyed. Anticipation is half the game in a romance book, but when you’ve seen the two of them together already and don’t love it, it doesn’t feel worth waiting around through seven husbands. About halfway through the book, the Hollywood backstabbing and bitchiness began to lose its appeal. Frankly, I got bored.

Do you think these two books look super similar too? From the shape of her dress and the stairway, to the letter arrangement, to the name… On purpose or a coincidence? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Aside from the romance, the other half of the game was the mystery behind Monique’s, the reporter, connection to Evelyn… and I guessed it hundreds of pages before the reveal. Which was irritating. However, I liked Monique and she had strong (if not slightly predictable) character development. The book was crammed full of strong female characters and it felt feminist, talking about real women and their experiences. One advantage of the time span being so long is that you really get to know Evelyn Hugo. Not exactly unlikeable, but she is a complicated character. She had a long life.

In short, The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo would make a brilliant autobiography. And while it is in a way, it was marketed as a romance and I believe it fails as that because of the writing style. Maybe if I’d gone into it with realistic expectations, had read the blurb, I would have enjoyed it more. I really enjoyed the Hollywood drama to start but it lost its appeal after a while. This style clearly works for some people and I desperately wanted to like it but Celia fell pretty flat. After a while, I was just bored.

Read it for the history, read it for the hype, but for me, The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo wasn’t all I was promised.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Have you read this book? Or another other of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books? Let me know in the comments because I’d love to get some other opinions on this book and if I should give Reid another chance.

Published by Hundreds&Thousands

I’m a teenager (and a Hufflepuff) from Manchester. I like oversized jumpers, music that isn't on the radio anymore and books. Pretty much any book I can get my hands on but my favourites are Young Adult, fantasy and science fiction. One day, I decided to share some of my opinions on some great - and not so great - books to people around the world. And here it is! I really enjoy it and I hope you do too. The aim is hundreds and thousands of book reviews (see what I did there?) but I’m not quite up to that. Yet.

11 thoughts on “The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo: Worth The Hype?

  1. I’ve only read Malibu Rising from this author and it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I was kinda disappointed, even though there were some parts I enjoyed. I think my expectations get so high for hyped books. Great review on this one though, I’m still on the fence about whether to read it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean? Sometimes when expectations are so high, when the book is even a little bit of an over estimate it makes you so much more disappointed than if you’d gone in with no expectations? If I’d just picked it up knowing nothing about it maybe I would have liked it more… who knows hah. But if you want a gossipy new drama I’d totally recommend it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Evelyn Hugo surprised me too, didn’t really know what to expect. Enjoyed it but get you mean, wasn’t entirely convinced by Evelyn and Celia together. That green dress is beautiful though 😂

    Liked by 2 people

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