“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”: more than just a romance novel


The official cover art for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Photo credit: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Melinda Mei, Staff Writer

When seeing the title “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” people may initially be caught up with the large number seven. Seven husbands! She must be wild! In reality, the book is so much more than that. 


This novel is not your usual young adult romance novel. If you look closely, none of the husband’s names are in the title. The title only has Evelyn Hugo’s name. That detail perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the novel. Despite the buzz around celebrity Evelyn Hugo’s love life, she is the real star. In fact, Hugo herself says “they are just husbands. I am Evelyn Hugo.” Her life is what we really want to know– and that’s what the novel serves us. 


The book begins with reporter Monique Grant receiving an invitation to interview movie legend Evelyn Hugo and write about Hugo’s life, a peculiar opportunity not offered to anyone else. The story is separated into seven parts, with each part named after one of Hugo’s husbands.


This novel tells two storylines at the same time. The chapters switch back and forth between time. Half the chapters are from Grant’s point of view, expressing her interactions with Hugo and disclosing her personal life. The other half of the chapters are told as Hugo in the past, giving us a first-hand account of her rise to, and life in, the spotlight. 


What stands out about this novel is how it acknowledges the complexities of human life by revealing the multitude of struggles and accomplishments that a specific person deals with. We see the untold story of Hugo, with her background, fame, sexuality, and many other factors taken into account. 


I don’t usually cry reading books, but I read the last bit of this book with tears streaming down my face. The ending came as a heart-breaking shock. Both storylines ended with a grand reveal. By learning about the final part of Hugo’s past, we find out Grant’s relation to Hugo, and why Hugo presented Grant with this unique interviewing opportunity. We also learn of Hugo’s current plan to commit suicide, which was slightly alluded to throughout the novel. Perhaps this amount of information was so overwhelming that the tears had to flow. 


I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would definitely say it is one of my favorites, coming short of Divergent and The Maze Runner. This novel captivated my attention the entire time. There weren’t many “edge of the seat” moments like the popular dystopian novels often have, but you can also trust that there was never a dull moment– just like everyday life.