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A thrilling book recommendation for the end-of-term
Alessia Baptista, Lifestyle Editor
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a book I finished a while ago and lives rent-free in my head. The character development and storyline absolutely won me over, and I cannot recommend this book enough.
The plot follows a journalist named Monique; a biracial woman living in New York City, who has just scored a position at an editorial company called Vivant. Monique is specifically requested by Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo to write an article about how she is putting some of her most iconic dresses up for a charity auction. However, upon their first encounter, Evelyn has a different idea in mind: she wants Monique to write her biography. Throughout the novel, we learn about Evelyn’s dark past in the movie industry, all the husbands she’s had along the way, the hardships of love and friendship, and the sacrifices made to achieve fame. If that’s not enough for you, Evelyn hides a dark secret from Monique, causing their lives to tragically intertwine. This book has so many twists, it’ll be sure to keep you flipping the pages.
Evelyn’s character is one that you either love or hate; I don’t think there’s an in-between. While Evelyn does find herself in difficult situations that force her to make some questionable decisions, I find that she is strong and resilient nonetheless. She really exhibits the “started from the bottom now I’ve made it to the top” attitude, and I admire her persistence and determination. She’s a formidable character and knows what she wants, but also makes terrible decisions and at times very selfish. As she gets older, her insecurities shine through: her entire life has depended upon her stunning physical appearance as an asset to her fame.
Some might question the relevance of Monique’s character in the novel, and quite honestly, she’s a great palette cleanser in between Evelyn’s stories. It’s also interesting to see how Evelyn slowly begins to have an impact on Monique’s personal life and influences some of the decisions she needs to make. However, Monique is a strong character by herself: she has her own personality traits outside of her career as a journalist. This is to say that she isn’t just writing Evelyn’s story; she faces her own challenges and has her own storyline which is what makes her so well developed as a character.
What I enjoyed most about the novel is the topic of fame and Hollywood glamour. I thought it was really entertaining to see how Evelyn ended up with seven husbands, all of which are fairly different from one another with the exception of a few similar traits. Evelyn has definitely lived a very interesting life, considering her seven husbands and successful career in the film industry, however, she also had a very hard upbringing.
There was not a moment where I wanted to stop reading unless I had to get some sleep. Without spoiling anything for you, the novel discusses love and sacrifice, LGBTQ+ relationships and identities, identity crisis, and having to change your identity in the world of fame. It’s diverse, stunning, and a potential tear-jerker. I need to give you a bit of a content warning, as the novel discusses topics of suicide and sexual abuse. There are no graphic descriptions, however, these topics are implied.
What makes a good book in my opinion is one with well developed characters and plot that makes you feel several emotions at the same time. If the book has an impact on you, then it’s job is done. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a book that you won’t be able to put down, and one that will make you feel all kinds of emotions.