THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO
BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID
‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ (2017) is a popular historical fiction with modern twists, set in the glamour years of old Hollywood. A bestseller in the US and the UK this novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, has also been a smash hit on Tik Tok with a Netflix adaptation in the pipeline. No surprise to find this is an enjoyable book club choice and one the Den recommends as a Missed Opportunity, ahead of its next wave of hype! Perfect novel for escapism, especially as the nights draw in.
At the start of the novel we meet Monique, an ambitious but unknown magazine writer, keen to secure herself a scoop and get noticed at the top New York magazine, Vivant. Unexpectedly Monique is invited to give an exclusive interview with the 79 year old Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo, to promote a charity auction of some of her most iconic gowns. Monique is unclear why the actress has chosen her and visits her apartment, only to discover Evelyn Hugo, now a recluse, wants Monique to write her life story (to be published after her death). Although suspicious, Monique agrees to meet with Evelyn and undertake this career changing opportunity.
The book is divided into 7 sections, each one dedicated to one of Evelyn’s husbands. Through the chronicle of Evelyn’s life with her husbands, the reader discovers how and why her marriages and love affairs evolved and ended along with her own story of how she rose to fame through these relationships. Her own retelling of events is set alongside newspaper articles, which present an alternative ‘fairy tale’ narrative providing further intrigue for the reader, especially as their accounts differ.
‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ looks back at the nostalgic periods of Hollywood’s history from the '50s to present day, challenging the reader to consider hidden scandals for young ambitious women (like Evelyn Hugo) and the price they were prepared to pay. It gave us in the Den plenty to talk about, segued with relevant and recently uncovered scandals - of which there are many!
This Missed Opportunity read will set you questioning the nostalgic sparkle of Hollywood as well as challenging what we are presented with by the press and social media.