I did very little “research” of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo before I read it. Basically just the jacket description (side note: I keep wanting to call her Eleanor Hugo and I’m not sure why…), and therefore I wasn’t totally sure what to expect from this one. So, I thought I’d walk you through my thoughts as I read the book (spoilers abound!):
“Oh, this’ll be a good beach read… maybe a little like Devil Wears Prada” (i.e., girl trying to make it in journalism gets job of a lifetime, but has to make sacrifices, etc.)
“Well, Evelyn is no Miranda Priestly.” (i.e., I found Evelyn to have more redeeming qualities than Miranda out the gate)
“What does Evelyn want with Monique? What am I missing?” (and it was at this point that I started to do something I don’t usually do – I scoured every word I read for clues as to what the twist/kicker would be in this book)
“OH! Well. This is a beach read with a message. Love is love. Love it!”
“OK. So clearly Evelyn knows something about Monique’s dad. Did Monique’s dad catch Evelyn and Celia and photograph them and she had him murdered?!” (lol, I was really prepared for this to turn full trashy beach read)
“Wow… it is incredibly sad that she had to lead an entire phony life to cover up her true self all those years.”
“So clearly the car accident has something to do with Monique’s dad.”
“Oh. Another social message. Who’d have guessed that my August beach read would cover LGBTQ+ rights, interracial marriage, and ‘right-to-die.'”
I was not prepared for what this book ultimately was, but I really enjoyed it. At first I was conflicted about the fact that Reid gave away that there would be a twist (the hints dropped by Evelyn that Monique especially would know she’s not a good person). But the more I thought about it… without those hints, the bombshell that Monique’s father was the man in the car would have felt very… Nicholas Sparks (whose work I love, but in a different kind of way). Instead, since we are prepared that there’s something coming, I guess it made it same more plausible and easy to swallow.
Bottom line: It was a great beach read and I felt much better about reading it than I do most of my beach reads (which are usually beyond trashy). And I found myself really loving several quotes/passages that I found particularly profound. So I’m going to wrap this up by sharing them with you now.
But the truth is, praise is just like an addiction. The more you get it, the more of it you need just to stay even.
When you realize you can tell someone the truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is, “You’re safe with me”–that’s intimacy.
It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.