Genre: Fiction; Historical Fiction; Romance; LGBT
Note: There are NO spoilers in this review. When discussing in the comments, please provide a spoiler warning if needed.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5
Saying I read a lot would be an understatement, but despite all of that reading I rarely see pieces of myself within a novel. There are characters I want to be or characters I want to be friends with, but when I take an honest look at who I am – there are few places I see Ciera.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of those places.
As the title suggests, our main character is Evelyn Hugo, an aging Hollywood star. Throughout her life she’s portrayed a carefully curated version of herself, but she’s ready to tell her story. No one knows why, but she reaches out to an unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job with a promise of her full story if she does it right.
Monique, our other narrator, has seen better days. Her husband is gone, her career is stagnant, and while she may not know why Evelyn chose her – she’s going to use this opportunity to jump start her career.
The novel is a series of conversations between Monique and Evelyn where the aging actress tells the story of her life and her many relationships, whether romantic or not, along the way. Evelyn shows no restraint or hesitation (once she gets going) when retelling her story – regardless of how it makes her look.
While we have two narrators, it’s not your typical jump back and forth. The novel flows like a conversation and it’s beautifully written.
The author also portrays the characters throughout the novel without labels or definitions that often come with LGBT characters. People are so much more complex than the words we tack onto them to help us better understand. Here the characters push away that constraint and show us who they are down to their core. It’s gorgeous and made me fall deeply in love with every character introduced in this novel.
At its core this is a romance novel. While a lot of the focus is on the relationships of Evelyn Hugo, it’s also a dazzling narration of her love story with herself. It’s hard to truly fall in love with yourself and everything you are. Acceptance is so hard to cultivate when we look in the mirror. To see that reflected in this story is eye-opening.
I could go on and on here about everything I love, but I’ll end with a plea that you read this one (if you haven’t already).