If you like that, try these … The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Hi all!

Welcome to If you like that, try these … my weekly post series where I share book (and sometimes movie or TV show) recommendations based on a book I’ve read. A new post comes out every Thursday!

This week’s pick is …

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“Do you understand what I’m telling you? When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things. If you learn one thing from me, it should probably be that.”

33160963What’s it about?

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo follows ageing and reclusive Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo, who is finally ready to tell her life story, and the seven husbands she had along the way. Evelyn chooses an unknown magazine reporter named Monique Grant to tell her story to – and no one is more shocked than Monique, who uses this opportunity to finally jumpstart her career. But Evelyn and Monique are connected in ways Monique never imagined.

What are the themes/elements?

Conforming to societal norms, death, discovering one’s sexuality, domestic violence, duel narrative, heartbreak, homophobia, honesty, human frailty, female empowerment, LGBTQ+ rights, memoir-style, misogyny, old Hollywood, racial politics, the passing of important historical events, woman in a man’s world.

So…

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What’s it about?

Lily has survived an abusive household as a child, graduated from college and is now trying to start her own business. When she meets a handsome neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, Lily thinks her life can’t get anymore perfect. But over the course of their relationship, Ryle becomes jealous and abusive, especially when an old flame of Lily’s returns.
TW: domestic violence

Why did I choose it?

I chose this book because it deals with an all-consuming, romantic relationship and what happens when that relationship becomes toxic and abusive. Evelyn and her second husband’s relationship is very much like Lily and Ryle’s – its exhilarating, romantic and amazing, but underneath the facade presented to the world, it’s dangerous and toxic.

 

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What’s it about?

Based on the true story about the Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi, the verse book follows Artemisia as she tries to make her way in a man’s world and the horrible decision she must make after she is raped – a decision that could ruin her career before it even starts.
TW: rape

Why did I choose it?

I chose this book because it’s about a woman making her way in a man’s world, during a time where men took what they wanted from women with no repercussions. Artemisia’s story is heartbreaking, but she, like Evelyn, doesn’t allow men to dictate her life or career.

 

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What’s it about?

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love tells the story of Cesar Castillo, an aged, Cuban musician who, along with his brother, once appeared on an I Love Lucy episode. The book chronicles Cesar’s last hours and he recalls his life: from immigration to America, to musical fame, and the pursuit of love.

Why did I choose it?

I chose this book for many reasons. First, Cesar, like Evelyn, is Cuban, and he tries adjusts to life as a Cuban immigrant in America. The book also deals with the loss of Cuban lifestyle after the rise of Fidel Castro, and Evelyn also struggles deeply with losing her Cuban heritage. Second, Cesar, at the end of his life, sits in a hotel room and remembers his life and the events he witnessed – Evelyn relates her life story and the events she witnessed (the passing of historical events, like Stonewall) to Monique. Third, in The Mambo Kings, Cesar is a famous musician in the 1950s, while Evelyn was a Hollywood actress in the 1950s.

 

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jellicoeWhat’s it about?

Taylor is the leader of the borders at school, and is involved in territory wars with the neighbouring schools. Now Johan Griggs, the boy she never wanted to see again, is back; and Hannah, the one person Taylor can rely on, has disappeared, and Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago.

Why did I choose it?

I chose On the Jellicoe Road because, like The Seven Husbands, this book features two stories in one: Taylor’s story and the five kids’ (like Evelyn and Monique). On the Jellicoe Road gives the feel of being retold a story, which is similar to how Evelyn repeats her story to Monique. There’s also a very big mystery in On the Jellicoe Road (actually, more than one), just like the mystery of how Evelyn and Monique are connected.

 

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What’s it about?

Set from the point of view of the important people in her life but never from her, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is about the enigmatic bisexual Sophie over the course of her life: from college, to marriage, to her career as filmmaker. But Sophie’s dedication to her art leads to her constantly disregarding those closest to her, who are also the subjects of her unique films.
TW: suicide, sexual assault

Why did I choose it?

I chose this book because Sophie Stark and Evelyn Hugo are cut from the same cloth: both women are bisexual, dedicated to their careers, and working in a man’s world. The Life and Death is unique in it’s narrative, as the book is set from the perspectives of the people Sophie knew as they tell her life story. It’s also set around Hollyworld and focusses on marriage.

 

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What’s it about?

Actress Caidence Harris has the leading role in a famous police drama show, and her costar – the beautiful and glamorous Robyn Ward – is about to become one of the most famous women in Hollywood. Caidence instantly falls for Robyn, but Robyn is unavailable and uninterested … or is she?

Why did I choose it?

I chose this book because it features a beautiful romance between two women … like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo does too. The chemistry between Caid and Robyn is scorching, much like the romance between Evelyn and her lover. Also like The Seven Husbands, the book is set in the Hollywood world, but a modern one, and one that’s focussed on TV instead.

 

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What’s it about?

When Liza first meets Annie, she knows that there’s something speak between them, and soon, their friendship turns into so much more. But their relationship causes conflict for their families as their schools, as America in the 1980s was still very much homophobic.
TW: homophobia

Why did I choose it?

I chose this book because it features homophobia and two girls coming to terms with their sexuality during a time where they still had to hid themselves.

 

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And there we have it: if you like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, then try those seven recommendations!

Do you know of any other similar books that I didn’t mention? What books would you like to see me discuss next time? Let me know!

11 thoughts on “If you like that, try these … The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

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