The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Book Spoilers
Since its release in 2017, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” has been a huge hit, going from bestseller lists to a BookTok sensation. Telling the story of Evelyn Hugo, a fictional star of Hollywood’s Golden Age, the novel is currently being made into a feature film by Netflix. We’re still a long way from seeing these beloved characters on the big screen, and like most adaptations, there will likely be translation changes from page to page. Until we hear more about the adaptation, here’s a full rundown of what’s going on in the bestselling book.
How does “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” begin?
The book begins with a framing device that recurs throughout the novel. Nowadays, Monique Grant, a journalist for Vivant magazine, receives some interesting news: she has been chosen to write an article for the magazine about Evelyn Hugo, a famous reclusive movie star who auctions off some of her iconic dresses for the benefit of a breast. – charity against cancer. Evelyn was a major star in Hollywood’s Golden Age but has since stayed out of the spotlight, despite numerous rumors about her life.
Confused as to why she was chosen, Monique nevertheless goes to Evelyn’s house to interview her. When she arrives, she learns that she has been brought there under false pretenses. Evelyn has no interest in granting an interview to Vivant. Instead, she wants Monique to write her life story, though she doesn’t explain why. Monique is suspicious of Evelyn’s motives, but she agrees and Evelyn begins to tell her life story.
Evelyn Hugo’s Rise to Stardom
Evelyn’s story begins when she was only 14 years old, while still bearing her real name, Evelyn Elena Herrera. She is then forced by the studios to dye her hair blonde, get rid of her accent and change her last name, all to look like a typical white starlet, even though she is actually Cuban. As a teenager, she grew up in Hell’s Kitchen with an abusive father. She escapes by marrying Ernie Diaz, whom she convinces she is in fact 18, and travels to Hollywood with him.
Once there, she begins to settle into the whirlwind and dangerous world of the film industry. She befriends Harry Cameron, a charming young producer, and seduces an executive at Sunset Studios to get her “big chance”. As the studio begins to raise her profile, it wants to set her up on publicity dates with other actors, so she divorces Ernie. One of her publicity dates is fellow actor Don Adler, whom she falls in love with and marries at age 21. Two months into their marriage, however, he begins to abuse her, jealous that her career is progressing while his is declining. She eventually gets away with it by faking a miscarriage and catching him cheating, but he first files for divorce, putting a damper on her career. Around the same time, Evelyn met Celia St. James, another actress, when they starred together in “Little Women”, and the two women became attracted to each other.
Attempting to revive her career after the Adler scandal, Evelyn makes the impulsive decision to travel to Paris and star in a rather racy film directed by Max Girard. As rumors spread about Evelyn and Celia, Evelyn distracted the tabloids with a one-day marriage to Mick Riva, a singer. The plan works and they quickly call off the wedding, but Evelyn gets pregnant from their drunken wedding night and has an abortion. Celia is angry and leaves Evelyn for five years.
The Golden Age of Evelyn Hugo
Evelyn’s career continues to soar and she stars in another book adaptation, “Anna Karenina.” She again marries a costar, Rex North, as part of a publicity ploy for the film. Neither of them are in love with the other, and their careers are in jeopardy when Rex gets his girlfriend pregnant. To cover up, Evelyn tells a story that she and Harry had an affair, divorce Rex, and marry Harry. In reality, Harry is gay and has an affair with football star John Braverman, who is himself married to Celia.
Celia and Evelyn reunite, and the foursome live happily ever after for several years, using their marriages to cover up their true romances. Eventually, with everyone’s blessing, Evelyn and Harry have a daughter, Connor. After years of living happily with her unconventional family, Evelyn’s life begins to fall apart. She and Celia break up again over Evelyn’s decision to star in an explicit sex scene in another of Max’s films, John dies of a heart attack, and Harry turns to alcohol in his grief.
After divorcing Harry, Evelyn marries Max. She quickly learns that he is more interested in her as a screen siren or sex symbol than the real Evelyn, but she remains married to him for another six years. Eventually, when this marriage ends, she reunites with Celia.
Why did Evelyn Hugo choose Monique Grant?
The final reunion isn’t entirely happy, as Celia reveals that she has less than 10 years to live. They suffer additional grief when Harry has a drunk driving accident. To save Harry’s reputation, Evelyn moves the passenger, Harry’s boyfriend, into the driver’s seat, and Harry dies shortly after being taken to hospital. Evelyn and Connor move with Celia and Celia’s brother, Robert, to Spain. With Celia’s blessing, Evelyn marries Robert, so there will be cover for Evelyn inheriting Celia’s estate.
Back in the present day, Evelyn shares her many losses with Monique. Celia died at age 61, and Robert a few years later. Evelyn also survived her daughter, Connor, who died of breast cancer, and Evelyn herself also has cancer. Evelyn finally reveals why she chose Monique: Monique’s father, James, was Harry’s boyfriend who was blamed for their fatal accident.
Monique is angry but slowly realizes what Evelyn said between the lines: she intends to end her life, rather than suffer a long battle with cancer. She decides not to tell anyone and soon learns that Evelyn died of an accidental overdose. When she publishes Evelyn’s biography, she adds a note in the introduction, revealing that the true love of Evelyn’s life was not one of her famous husbands, but Celia.