The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, was a book that I remember hearing massive hype about. It came out quite a few years ago now, in the world of our fast moving culture, but I’ve always been curious about it. It was one of those books that I didn’t quite know what it was about, but it was also something that I didn’t want to miss out on. I knew that it wasn’t fantasy, my preferred genre, but I also know that everyone said that you didn’t have to strictly love its genre to enjoy it (I later found that the genre was fictional biography/literacy, as I describe it).
The book came as an add-on option for Book of the Month (which I hated and would be very slow to recommend). Since I needed to burn through my credits so that I could delete my account, because as I said, I hated the program, I chose this book. Thus, the gorgeous copy was in my possessions.
Evelyn Hugo was my second book coming out of a massive reading slump, so perhaps that is what gave me so much love for reading it. Or maybe it was simply just a very enjoyable read. I think it was a mixture of both, but most largely due to the latter. It completely submersed me. Time slipped away every time I cracked open the book. My lunch hour was starting to feel less like an hour and a lot more like minutes. Evenings went by a lot quicker. Bedtime became more enjoyable. And then the book was gone. Done.
I actually told someone that there was a moment throughout the day when I was thinking I can’t wait to see those friends again before I remembered that they were merely characters. I mean, I suppose that seems a bit sad/pathetic as I’m typing it out, but honestly? I think it is a testament as to just how good this book is.
Also, I just can’t get over just how much I liked Evelyn. She is unapologetic about who she is. Though, I suppose, that is a large plot point.
At first the book is difficult to really connect with. Monique is … bland? Boring? Not a good narrator? I honestly felt like we were being forced to sympathize with and like her, but I just couldn’t. All she did was whine and moan, and then suddenly her personality makes a switch part way through? (Not even to a more likeable version). But I digress. I also wasn’t a fan of Celia, either. I found her childish and pouty. To me, there was nothing redeemable about her character. (I know that I am also quite in the minority for this opinion).
However, circling back to the eponymous character. Evelyn is an antihero, there’s no other way about it. And she is one of those frustratingly ambitious people that you just can’t help but love. Everything she does is for her own gain. She says it again and again throughout the book… she knows what she does is ruthless and cold and calculating and wrong, but she would make those same choices again and again. She is the true star of the book.
Evelyn Hugo is split into sections of the Seven Husbands. I loved how the book was sectioned off in this way. I also loved the differences between each husband, the story line, and how Evelyn changed with each and every one. And honestly I could not stop thinking about the book the entire time I read it, and after. Still now, weeks later, I still can’t. The author wrote the book with such … confidence and strength imbued within its pages.
It’s slow, in the best way. It lapses over Evelyn’s seventy years of life (mostly focusing on the 1950s to present day) and really takes the time to sit and ponder in the moments that truly made up Evelyn Hugo. At it’s core, it’s really just walking through Evelyn’s life and her choices and the ripple effects from them.
This is easily marked up as one of my favorite books. And, I mean, just look at that gorgeous cover.
So all that to say, I would recommend this book to anyone — historical fiction lovers, or not. It definitely is enjoyable book that makes you really question your own ambition.
Harry is a saint and a blessing. The plot twists aren’t all that surprising, but are still enjoyable, nonetheless. The ending left me spewing. Still think about this book constantly. I would highly recommend.