Our review

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid delivers a decadent feast of raw and realistic depictions of female bisexuality and lesbiasnism, twisted into a powerful story about challenging societal norms, discovering true intimacy, and owning yourself. Gone are the shallow, oversexualized and underdeveloped caricatures of bisexual women that leave us craving something more. This novel promises a refreshingly relatable host of characters, and it does not disappoint.

Be warned, despite the overtones of old Hollywood glamour, this is no fairytale. The turbulent life of Evelyn Hugo, a notorious Hollywood icon; has spent her life hiding her true self behind a parade of husbands and oh-so-seductive sultry facades, to the extent it is unclear where the real woman behind the starlet even begins. Each and every moment of love and tenderness is followed swiftly by tragedy and grief; it’s an intensely accurate depiction of the depth and danger of love, and what it takes to keep it. Especially when your identity lies outside the boundaries of societal norms. The transactional nature of sex is explored with as much intricacy as the great love stories of Evelyn’s journey: each relationship bringing new challenges and evoking new emotions, not just in our protagonist, but in the reader too.

This is a book that can fundamentally change you. Its exploration of female agency is made up of so many layers - race, sexuality, beauty, intimacy - and yet, it never feels overwhelming or overdone. There is no superfluous storytelling here. This is a surprisingly simple and profound narrative, perhaps because the subject matter of human emotion is so complex. It leaves one feeling as though it is near impossible to believe that Evelyn Hugo is a fictional character: there are certainly parts of Evelyn in every woman, especially when considering her sexual identity and the impact of this on her life. Whether you see yourself reflected in her passion, her loneliness or her bravery - she is real, she is true, and she is one of the most thoughtfully written bisexual characters we have ever had the joy of experiencing.

Long live Evelyn Hugo - she has won our bisexual hearts!

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