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17 Books Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Books Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Set in the glamorous world of Hollywood, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”  follows the life of legendary film actress Evelyn Hugo as she recounts her tumultuous journey through seven marriages and the secrets she’s kept hidden for decades. 

For those who found themselves enthralled by Evelyn’s story and are eager to dive into similar tales of love, betrayal, and intrigue, here are several books that share thematic elements and storytelling styles reminiscent of this unforgettable novel. 

Whether you’re drawn to the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood or fascinated by the intricacies of complex relationships, these recommendations are sure to satisfy your craving for captivating stories that linger long after the final page is turned.

Books Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

1. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six” chronicles the rise and fall of a fictional 70s rock band led by the charismatic Daisy Jones and the enigmatic Billy Dunne. The story is told through a series of interviews, revealing the complex relationships, rampant egos, and creative clashes that fuel the band’s journey to stardom. 

This format provides a multi-perspective look at the music industry, love, friendship, and the pursuit of greatness, echoing the emotional depth and character-driven storytelling found in “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.”

Major Similarities:

Both books are penned by Taylor Jenkins Reid and share a narrative style that deeply explores the complexities of fame and personal relationships within the glamorous yet tumultuous entertainment industry. The interview format in “Daisy Jones & The Six” mirrors the revelatory confessional style seen in “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” offering readers an intimate glimpse into the lives of its characters. 

Furthermore, both stories adeptly navigate themes of love, ambition, and the sacrifices made in the name of success, providing a compelling and emotional journey through the highs and lows of celebrity life.

2. The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles

“The Air You Breathe” is an epic tale of an intense and complicated friendship between two women from vastly different backgrounds in early 20th century Brazil. 

Dores and Graça bond over a shared love for music, leading them from a sugar plantation to Rio de Janeiro’s fame. Their journey through the golden age of Brazilian music is marked by ambition, betrayal, and the transformative power of art. The story is rich in historical detail and explores the depths of friendship and the price of fame.

Major Similarities:

This novel shares with “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” a deep dive into the complexities of fame and the sacrifices required to achieve it. Both books explore the intricacies of relationships, especially focusing on how ambition and success can forge and fracture bonds. 

The historical settings and rich backdrops add a layer of depth to the narrative, providing a vivid stage for the exploration of themes such as love, identity, and the enduring impact of choices on one’s destiny.

3. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

“City of Girls” offers a vibrant and sexually liberating journey of Vivian Morris in the 1940s New York City. After being kicked out of Vassar College, Vivian is sent to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a crumbling theatre. 

What follows is a life filled with glamour, adventures, and mistakes, as Vivian learns about love, desire, and the freedom of embracing one’s sexuality. Elizabeth Gilbert crafts a novel that’s as much about personal discovery as it is about the historical context of women’s lives in the mid-20th century.

Major Similarities:

Like “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” “City of Girls” delves into themes of love, sexuality, and the quest for personal autonomy against the backdrop of a bygone era in entertainment history. Both novels feature strong, complex female protagonists who navigate the challenges of living unapologetically in a man’s world. 

The narratives are rich with detail, exploring the consequences of the choices made by these women, and offer a compelling look at the intersections of fame, friendship, and personal growth.

4. The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

“The Girls in the Picture” is a novel about the friendship between silent film star Mary Pickford and screenwriter Frances Marion. Set during the dawn of Hollywood, it captures the heady early days of cinema, where innovation and the fierce ambition of its female pioneers shaped the industry. 

This story delves into the challenges and triumphs faced by women in early Hollywood, highlighting the power dynamics, creative collaborations, and the personal sacrifices behind the screen.

Major Similarities:

Both “The Girls in the Picture” and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” focus on the golden age of Hollywood and its impact on the lives of women who were pivotal to its evolution. They explore themes of friendship, ambition, and the price of fame, offering a nuanced look at the personal and professional dynamics in the entertainment industry. 

The emphasis on strong female relationships and the struggles faced by women in achieving recognition and success in a male-dominated field are central to both narratives.

5. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Set against a sprawling backdrop that spans decades and continents, “Beautiful Ruins” weaves together multiple narratives, beginning in 1960s Italy with a young innkeeper and an American actress. The story unfolds over fifty years, exploring the interconnected lives of its characters as they navigate love, ambition, and the unforeseen impacts of Hollywood on their destinies. 

Jess Walter combines history, romance, and a critique of celebrity culture to create a multi-layered narrative.

Major Similarities:

“Beautiful Ruins” and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” both offer a critical and intricate look at Hollywood’s influence on personal lives and relationships. The stories span several decades, allowing for a rich exploration of historical contexts and the evolution of the entertainment industry. 

Themes of love, betrayal, and the pursuit of artistic integrity are central, as well as the exploration of how public and private lives intersect in the lives of those touched by fame. Both novels skillfully blend real historical ambiance with the fictional lives of their characters, creating immersive and emotionally resonant experiences for readers.

6. The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

“The Last Letter from Your Lover” is a captivating dual-timeline novel that intertwines the stories of two women, decades apart, who are connected by a series of love letters. In the 1960s, Jennifer Stirling wakes up with amnesia, only to discover passionate letters from a lover she can’t remember. 

In the present day, journalist Ellie Haworth stumbles upon these letters and becomes determined to uncover the story behind them. Moyes crafts a narrative that explores themes of love, loss, and the enduring power of written words.

Major Similarities:

Like “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” this novel delves into the complexities of love and the lengths people will go to in order to be with the one they truly love. Both stories are told through dual timelines, offering a window into the past and its impact on the present. 

The emotional depth, exploration of forbidden love, and the consequences of societal expectations resonate with the themes presented in Evelyn Hugo’s tale of love and ambition.

7. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

“The Swans of Fifth Avenue” is a dazzling novel that captures the glamour and scandal of New York high society in the 1950s, centering on the real-life friendship between Truman Capote and socialite Babe Paley. 

The narrative reveals the complexities of their relationship, marked by loyalty, betrayal, and the pursuit of fame and acceptance. Benjamin vividly portrays the opulence and emptiness of the elite, as well as the dark side of fame and friendship.

Major Similarities:

Both novels are set against the backdrop of mid-20th century glamour and explore the intricacies of relationships within the sphere of high society and celebrity culture. 

“The Swans of Fifth Avenue” and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” share themes of ambition, betrayal, and the search for genuine connection amidst the facade of fame. The emphasis on complex female characters and their navigation through personal and public life challenges mirrors the narrative depth and character exploration seen in Evelyn Hugo’s story.

8. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

“Rules of Civility” takes place in New York City in 1938, following the life of Katey Kontent, a young woman navigating the social ladder of the New York elite. 

The novel is a tribute to the jazz-soaked energy of New York’s social strata, driven by ambition, love, and the choices that define one’s life. 

Towles masterfully captures the essence of the era, creating a vivid portrait of a bygone New York filled with charismatic characters and poignant moments.

Major Similarities:

“Rules of Civility” shares with “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” a keen exploration of ambition and the dynamics of relationships set against a historical backdrop. Both novels feature strong, independent female protagonists who confront the expectations and limitations of their time. 

The richly detailed settings and the characters’ intricate journeys through love, friendship, and personal growth echo the thematic and emotional resonance found in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s depiction of Hollywood’s golden age.

9. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

“Conversations with Friends” is a contemporary novel that explores the complex relationships between two college students, Frances and Bobbi, and an older married couple, Melissa and Nick. 

Through sharp dialogue and introspective narration, Rooney delves into themes of love, fidelity, and the search for identity. The novel’s nuanced examination of interpersonal dynamics and the impact of intellectual and emotional connections on personal lives offers a raw and realistic look at modern relationships.

Major Similarities:

While set in a different era and social context, “Conversations with Friends” mirrors “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” in its deep exploration of relationships and the complexities of human emotions. Both novels scrutinize the nature of love and desire, the consequences of our choices, and the intricate web of relationships that define our lives. 

The emphasis on character development and the exploration of themes such as infidelity, ambition, and the quest for self-discovery link Rooney’s contemporary narrative with the rich, historical depth of Evelyn Hugo’s story.

10. This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

“This Is How It Always Is” focuses on a family grappling with challenges when their youngest son, Claude, wants to live as a girl. The novel explores themes of secrets, transformation, and acceptance within a loving family dynamic. 

Laurie Frankel addresses the complexities of raising a transgender child with sensitivity and realism, emphasizing the importance of unconditional love and the difficulties of navigating societal expectations.

Major Similarities:

While “This Is How It Always Is” differs in subject matter from “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” both novels deeply explore the themes of identity, transformation, and the courage it takes to live one’s truth in the face of societal norms. 

Both stories are heartfelt and thought-provoking, offering insights into the human condition, the complexity of relationships, and the impact of secrets kept and revealed. The emphasis on character development and emotional depth connects Frankel’s contemporary family saga with Reid’s historical exploration of a Hollywood icon.

11. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

“Little Fires Everywhere” takes place in the seemingly idyllic suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, where the arrival of enigmatic artist Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl upends the community and the Richardson family’s stable life. 

The novel explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood. Celeste Ng crafts a complex and compelling narrative that examines the intricacies of race, class, and the challenge of understanding others who are different from ourselves.

Major Similarities:

Both “Little Fires Everywhere” and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” examine the complexities of female relationships and the secrets that shape our lives. Ng’s novel, like Reid’s, delves into themes of identity, societal expectations, and the consequences of our choices on our lives and the lives of others. 

The exploration of motherhood, ambition, and the search for one’s place in the world are central themes that resonate deeply with the emotional and narrative arcs in Evelyn Hugo’s story.

12. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

“The Immortalists” follows the lives of four siblings who visit a psychic in their youth to learn the dates of their deaths. This knowledge shapes their choices and paths in life in profound and divergent ways, exploring themes of destiny, mortality, and the limits of free will. 

Chloe Benjamin weaves together the stories of these siblings with depth and sensitivity, examining how the anticipation of death can influence how we live.

Major Similarities:

Like “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” “The Immortalists” is a deeply moving exploration of life’s complexities, the impact of fate versus free will, and the enduring power of love and family. Both novels feature richly drawn characters whose lives are intertwined in complex and meaningful ways, offering a poignant look at the human condition. 

The exploration of how secrets and personal choices affect not only the individual but also those around them links Benjamin’s speculative narrative with Reid’s historical fiction, inviting readers to reflect on the nature of legacy and the pursuit of authenticity.

13. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

“My Not So Perfect Life” revolves around Katie Brenner, who lives in London and presents an idyllic life on social media, despite struggling with the realities of her mundane job and not-so-glamorous living situation. When she’s suddenly laid off, Katie must return to her family’s farm in Somerset, where she begins to rediscover herself and what truly matters in life. 

Sophie Kinsella combines humor with poignant moments to explore themes of authenticity, the pressure of societal expectations, and the pursuit of a fulfilling life.

Major Similarities:

While “My Not So Perfect Life” offers a lighter, more comedic tone compared to “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” both novels address the theme of authenticity versus public perception. Kinsella’s contemporary setting and Reid’s mid-20th-century Hollywood glam explore the disparity between the lives we lead and the facades we present to the world. 

The journey towards self-discovery, the importance of staying true to oneself, and the impact of societal expectations on personal happiness are central themes that resonate across both stories, providing a commentary on the universal quest for authenticity in a curated world.

14. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus” is a mesmerizing novel set in a magical competition between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who are unknowingly bound to a deadly contest by their guardians. Their battleground is the enchanting Le Cirque des Rêves, a circus that only opens at night, offering a spectacle of wonder and imagination. 

As the competition intensifies, so does their love, threatening the lives of everyone involved with the circus. Morgenstern’s storytelling weaves a rich tapestry of love, magic, and fate, set against the backdrop of an enchanting Victorian-era circus.

Major Similarities: 

Although “The Night Circus” delves into the fantastical, it shares with “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” a deep exploration of themes such as the complexities of love, the sacrifices made for passion, and the impact of decisions on one’s destiny. 

Both novels feature a compelling narrative that spans years, richly developed characters whose lives are intricately connected, and a backdrop that adds a layer of intrigue and beauty to the story. 

The emotional depth and the exploration of relationships against a unique setting link these two distinct narratives.

15. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

“The Interestings” follows a group of friends who meet at a summer camp for the arts in the 1970s and traces their lives into adulthood, exploring how their talents, fortunes, and degrees of success shape their relationships and perceptions of themselves. 

Wolitzer delves into themes of envy, success, and the complexity of friendships over time, providing a nuanced look at how aspirations and achievements impact personal connections. The novel is a deep dive into the evolution of friendships and the nature of creativity and ambition.

Major Similarities: 

Both “The Interestings” and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” explore the dynamics of relationships over decades, focusing on how personal and professional lives intersect and evolve. Themes of ambition, success, and the changing nature of love and friendship are central to both stories. 

Each narrative offers a compelling examination of characters as they navigate the challenges and triumphs of life, making choices that reflect their desires, fears, and the impact of time on their dreams and relationships.

16. The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

“The Ensemble” tells the story of the members of a string quartet as they navigate their intertwined personal and professional lives over the course of many years. The novel explores the beauty and complexity of friendships, the sacrifices required for art, and the intricate dynamics within a group dedicated to achieving greatness together. 

Gabel’s writing beautifully captures the tension between individual desires and the collective needs of the ensemble, set against the backdrop of the competitive world of classical music.

Major Similarities: 

Like “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” “The Ensemble” delves into the intricacies of relationships formed in the pursuit of artistic excellence. Both novels examine the sacrifices made for one’s career, the impact of ambition on personal relationships, and the lifelong bonds formed through shared passion and challenges. 

The focus on a group of people tied together by their professional endeavors, exploring both their successes and the strains on their relationships, mirrors the thematic and emotional depth of Reid’s exploration of Hollywood.

17. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

“The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna” is a sweeping family saga that spans a century, telling the story of Stella Fortuna, an Italian woman whose life is marked by a series of near-death experiences. 

The novel explores themes of family, immigration, and the struggle for independence against the backdrop of 20th-century Italy and America. Grames crafts a narrative that delves into the complexities of familial bonds, the curse of beauty, and the fight for autonomy in a patriarchal society.

Major Similarities: 

Both “The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna” and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” offer rich, multi-generational tales that span significant periods of the 20th century, providing insights into the lives of women who defy the expectations placed upon them by society. 

Themes of survival, independence, and the complexities of familial and romantic relationships are at the heart of both novels. The strong, determined female protagonists and the exploration of how external forces shape their destinies link these stories, showcasing the resilience required to forge one’s path in a changing world.

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