This is a summary based on my understanding of the novel. Please also note that this summary contains spoilers. You may want to read the entire book first before proceeding
Monique Grant works at Vivant, and was surprised to be informed that Evelyn Hugo personally chose her to write about her.
Evelyn Hugo, a Hollywood Movie icon back in the 50s and 80s, is now ready to tell the truth. She actually wanted Monique to write her memoir, not just an article. The earnings from that memoir will all be Monique’s. It felt too good to be true, like there really is a catch to all this, but Monique agreed and listened to Evelyn’s story as she narrated her life with her 7 husbands:
Evelyn’s first husband is Ernie Diaz, whom she lest her virginity to at a young age. After they married, Ernie took her to LA where Evelyn met producers and was eventually given the chance.
After convincing Harry Cameron, and after meeting Ari Sullivan (who had a great time with his face between Evelyn’s legs) – Evelyn got a role and a contract. She later on divorced Ernie.
Her 2nd husband is Don Adler – and Evelyn actually fell for him. He was handsome, famous, wealthy. They had a grand wedding. However, after two months of being married, Don started hitting her every time he is in a bad mood.
Don divorced Evelyn – this was after she caught him in a hotel room with another woman, and after Evelyn realized that she has feelings for Celia St. James.
Celia is her co-star at Little Women, they got close together. Celia is a lesbian, and Evelyn realized she is bisexual. Although they are sure that they are in love, they still have to hide because during these years, being gay is greatly frowned upon.
This leads to Evelyn’s 3rd marriage to Mick Riva. Since there were already rumors about Evelyn and Celia’s closeness, they decided to create a distraction. Mick is very vocal about wanting Evelyn, so she took advantage of it. They got drunk in Vegas, got married, and had sex. The next morning, Evelyn made sure Mick realized she wasn’t really the girl he dreamed of, he said their marriage was a stupid mistake and they should have it annulled. Evelyn pretended to plead, even though this was her original plan – what she didn’t plan was getting pregnant.
She got pregnant by Mick and she told Celia about it who has horrified. Celia didn’t expect for Evelyn to actually have sex with another man. Celia left Evelyn, and Evelyn had an abortion.
Evelyn’s 4th husband is Rex North. They only got married because of their movie together. Their marriage helped their movie succeed. They stayed married but didn’t have sex at all. It was a very convenient marriage until Rex announced that she is in love with her girlfrend, Joy – and she’s pregnant. For both of them to get out of the marriage, Evelyn staged a scene where it looked like she’s having an affair with Harry Cameron. Her marriage with Rex ended smoothly.
Evelyn’s 5th husband is Harry Cameron. Harry Cameron is not straight, and he is Evelyn’s bestfriend.
Evelyn and Celia met again after being nominated and after both losing. They both reconciled in the ladies room. They got back together after that. Celia is already married to John, who is also not straight and is dating Harry Cameron. This gave Evelyn and Harry an idea to get married for the public, while they secretly date who they are truly in love with.
Evelyn and Harry’s marriage lasted for 15 years – with one daughter, Connor. They both decided that they both wanted a child. Evelyn also knows that she is ageing. Purely friends, but they went to bed together to have a child. Their partners, John and Celia, have been supportive.
After giving birth, Celia suggested a come back movie for Evelyn. She took it, even though she is going to be partnered with his ex husband, Don Adler. Worse, they have a very intimate love scene. Evelyn did the love scene with Don, felt guilty about it, and informed Celia. Celia pleaded her not to do it, that she can’t take it – but she already did it. Celia left her again this time, and she didn’t come back even after Evelyn apologized. Celia later on divorced John.
Years later, John died of heart attack, which made Harry miserable. Celia was there during the funeral, but she didn’t talk to Evelyn. Evelyn busied herself with taking care of Conor and Harry.
Evelyn’s 6th husband is Max Girard, a French director who directed her best movies. Max claimed to be inlove with Evelyn. He wrote a note to Evelyn to marry him, and to leave Harry. Max knows that Harry is homosexual. Evelyn told Harry about this and he was supportive for as long as she is happy. This time, Evelyn thought that she was happy, that she finally found a man that truly loved her. She was wrong – Max only loved the idea of her. He paraded her like a trophy, and didn’t really see through her.
When Evelyn won an award, she subtly sent her regards to Celia without naming her. When Celia won an award, she also mentioned something in reference to Evelyn in her speech. They exchanged notes – then eventually decided to meet again. On her way to Celia, Max saw their letters and found out that she’s in love with a woman. Evelyn doesn’t care. She decided that she’s going to divorce Max and be with Celia – she also anticipated Max anger so she got photographed with a much younger man so it would appear like Max’s accusations are just all because of his bitterness.
Evelyn’s 7th husband is Robert Jamison, Celia’s brother.
Celia revealed that she is sick and dying, she said she wanted to be with Evelyn on her remaining days. Celia offered they all move – Evelyn, Connor, and Harry. Harry didn’t agree, he values his career. They pushed the discussion back, hoping they’d find another alternative. Harry later on revealed to Evelyn that he found someone he’s in love with – he thinks they could make it work, along with the new man he is in love with. Evelyn assured her that they would discuss it further.
On Evelyn’s way to meet Harry so they could go home and be with Connor – there was an accident. Harry was driving drunk, killing himself and his lover on the passenger seat. Evelyn set up the scene – he took Harry to the hospital, and left the man in the car and made it look like he was the one driving. After setting up the scene, Evelyn reported the accident with the help of the cab driver. In the news, Harry died due to aneurysm.
Evelyn and Connor moved to Spain, as Connor has become difficult, hurt by her father’s death. As per Celia’s suggestion, Evelyn married Robert Jamison and they all lived together. Connor eventually warmed up to Robert.
At the age of 61, Celia died. At the age of 81, Robert died. At the age of 41, Evelyn’s own daughter, Connor, dies of breast cancer.
Now Evelyn is all alone, dying of breast cancer.
Evelyn’s story is finished – but there is one more thing that Monique should know:
The man on Harry’s passenger seat on the night he died is James Grant, Monique’s father. Evelyn has staged it to look like James has been drunk driving, so he could protect Harry. Evelyn also handed a letter to Monique – it was a letter written by James to Harry, telling him that he loves him, but could not leave his wife and daughter.
Monique was stunned to know that her father loved a man. She was also angry at Evelyn for staging the scene – because all this time she believed her father has been drinking and driving. Now she knows better.
The next day, Evelyn had a photoshoot with Vivant. After that, Evelyn sent her help, Grace, to a 1 week vacation. She also said her goodbye to Monique.
It was later on the news that Evelyn Hugo has died at the age of 79 due to accidental drug overdose.
Monique published her article with Vivant about Evelyn’s true feelings for Celia St. James. She also announced that she will be releasing a biography titled, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.