The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Book Review
This is me, H.B. Louise—
One thing I've learned about myself in joining a book club with my friends is that I don't like deadlines for reading. It makes me not want to read the book, no matter how good or interesting it is. For the two books we have read, I am 2 for 2 in finishing last and days before/the day of book club.
This month Natalie picked The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (TJR). This is your warning...SPOILERS ARE BELOW, so please do not read if you still plan on reading the book.
First thing's first, I gave the book a 4.8/5 stars.
TJR writes so vividly, and she's unafraid to discuss any subject/topic. I can confidently say, I didn't love a majority of the characters, but the book was executed SO WELL. First, I thought the set up of the book immediately has you wondering, "Why Monique? What's so special about this journalist? What could be so intriguing about her to catch the eye of Evelyn Hugo?" Little did I know that this would be the second most shocking part of the book.
Overall, I thought this book was masterfully wicked. So many plot points left me deeply bothered and upset, while others made me happy and excited to read more. Evelyn Hugo is a calculated and cold-blooded shark, yet you still feel bad for her and everything she has been through. She's been married seven times and most of them were to horrible men that used her or mistreated her. Out of the seven, I can confidently say I only liked 2.5 of them. Harry Cameron (1), Rex North (1), and Robert Jamison (0.5).
Harry was my favorite and only because he was the most loyal and loving friend to Evelyn. Harry was the best of them and his death tore me up more than I care to admit.
Rex North was respectful and did the right thing by the love of his life, Joy. He protected and cared for Evelyn even though they did not love each other romantically.
Robert Jamison was perfect for Connor (Harry and Evelyn's daughter) after Harry died. Therefore, I felt he respected Evelyn and wanted to be a part of the family. Although this was a wedding derived out of convenience and "duty," I still liked him.
If I had to pick one husband to hate, it would be Don Adler. Honestly, I don't mess around with abusive partners so he was an immediate no for me.
Okay, now to the most controversial opinion... I did NOT like Celia St. James. Celia, the love of Evelyn's life was a narcissist. She was always unable to understand Evelyn and why Evelyn made the choices she did. Am I saying I agree with everything Evelyn did? Absolutely not, but still Celia continued to make me angry throughout the book. I felt their relationship was also toxic. As soon as that opinion was formed, I could not change my mind.
Now there were two other parts that shocked me. The second biggest shock that I alluded to earlier was the connection of Monique and Evelyn. This is a confusing connection so I will try to be as clear as possible. After Harry and Evelyn divorced, Harry was trying to find love after John Braverman (the love of his life) died. He ended up finding someone he thought he could love and that happened to be Monique's father (Monique had no clue). In the book, Evelyn told the story of Harry dying. It was a horrific drunk driving accident involving Harry. Evelyn told Monique that her and her driver traded the places of Harry and the passenger to save Harry's reputation, since Harry was driving the car. The passenger was dead upon impact, but everyone had thought he was the driver because of the switch. This made him go down as a drunk driver and brought shame upon his loved ones. The passenger was Monique's dad... I mean woah. I didn't see this coming AT ALL. It was so shocking.
The most shocking part of the book was Evelyn's death. She had been hinting that her time was coming to an end, but you didn't understand why. Maybe it was old age? No, it was breast cancer. Now, that's not the shocking thing. She had said that she was not going to let what made her be the end of her. Therefore, her body (which was what helped her get through life, get the roles she did, etc.) would not be the thing to kill her. She never was able to let things happen to her. She made every choice from day one to the day she died. She "accidentally" overdosed.
I felt this part of the book was absolutely horrible. Monique understood that Evelyn would be taking her own life and she didn't do anything about it. She didn't go back and try and stop her. She let it happen. I was torn up over this, so much so that my next day was thrown off. As someone who has lost a family member to suicide, I think it just hit very close to home. If you or anyone else you know has these thoughts, there are resources and people to help. It is not the answer.
So to end my second official book review, I would 100% recommend this book to others. I think I would share it with a trigger warning to everyone I encourage to read it, but I definitely think the themes and style of writing were amazing. My first TJR book, and it was a hit! I look forward to the next TJR book that is lined up for next month... More to come on that!
With all my love and thanks, H.B. Louise