10 Books Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: Closeted Hollywood, Ambition, Secrets and Marriages of Convenience

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a huge hit, holding court on bestseller lists and becoming a book club favorite. (We’ve even got a book club guide for Evelyn Hugo.) So, if you’ve also read and loved the book and are itching for more, we’ve got you covered. What follows are ten books like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo that cue in on the book’s Hollywood setting, living a closeted life, marriages (and divorces) of convenience, blind ambition and women fighting for the life they choose.

Books like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

If reading Evelyn Hugo has made you a major Reid fan, then be sure to check out our complete list of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books. It includes all of her books, in pub order, along with a ranked order of the books and a brief synopsis for each.

We’ve also got a book club guide for Carrie Soto is Back, Malibu Rising and Daisy Jones & the Six.

10 Books Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Did You Hear about Kitty Carr, Christal Smith Paul

This is a great pick if you want more books like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which are dripping with Hollywood glam and a gossipy storyline.

Spanning multiple generations, the story focuses on a White actress and celebrity icon of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Kitty Karr. When she passes away, she leaves her multi-million dollar estate to her next door neighbors, the St. John sisters; who are three wealthy, young Black women. The world is shocked and wants to know why.

Elise St. John starts digging into the unexpected gift, finding a nest of secrets that stretch back in time to the Jim Crowe South.

Tab Hunter Confidential, Tab Hunter and Eddie Miller

If you are interested in learning more about an actual closeted Hollywood star, then Tab Hunter Confidential will make for interesting reading. Hunter was the kind of hunky All-American guy that the Hollywood machine loved in the 1950’s. He went from stable boy to star, and he had to learn how to navigate the shark-infested waters along the way. His memoir tackles the subject of being a closeted gay man head on.

The Only Woman in the Room, Marie Benedict

Benedict excels at delivering fictionalized stories of real women doing extraordinary things. This book profiles 1930’s silver screen star Hedly Lamarr. She was well known for her beauty, but her brilliance as a scientist was often overlooked.

The book covers her time in pre-WW2 Austria, where she married an arms dealer. As his trophy wife, she gained access to the Austrian elite. She gathered lot of intelligence and developed her natural talent for science along the way. After escaping Austria and her controlling husband, she becomes a star in Hollywood.

While there, she also works on developing an early version of a frequency-hopping signal which she hoped could prevent a torpedo’s radio guidance system from being tracked or jammed.

This is a good follow-up to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo if you like angle of sexism and female ambition in Hollywood.

Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter

How about more of that elusive Hollywood glamour? A beautiful American actress is supposed to be filming Cleopatra with Richard Burton, but instead, she washes up at a remote Italian inn. What’s her story?

Fast forward to today’s time and her Italian innkeeper has shown up in Hollywood, searching for the mysterious woman from decades ago.

Marriage of a Thousand Lies, SJ Sindu

Lucky is a gay Sri Lankan woman in a marriage of convenience with her male best friend Kris, who is also gay. Together they present the facade of a traditional marriage, while living the lie.

Lucky comes to the aid of her grandmother, who’s had a bad fall. While in her childhood home, she reconnects with Nisha, her former best friend and first lover. Nisha’s impending nuptials force Lucky to have a hard look at her life choices and what she really wants.

The book covers themes like being a closeted gay person in a disapproving culture, the tricky nature of arranged marriages, sacrificing for love, and finding oneself.

City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert

If you are looking for more female empowerment, then read City of Girls. It’s set in NYC’s theater district of the 1940’s. Protagonist Vivian Morris has been sent to live with her Aunt Peg, who runs a theater. Over the course of the book, Vivvie learns to exercise her own economic and sexual agency with guidance from the other strong female characters in the story.

We also have a book club guide for City of Girls.

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post, Allison Pataki

This biographical fiction is about the American Post cereal heiress and leader of the twentieth century high-society. In accordance with the book title, Marjorie Post really lived so many different lives over the course of her 86 years– leading to a pretty surprising legacy. 

This book is similar to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo because, like Evelyn, Marjorie is a strong character dealing with wealth, scandalous divorces and learning how to make her voice heard.

Read it for book club and use our Marjorie Post discussion guide.

Woman on Fire, Lisa Barr

If you liked Evelyn Hugo uncompromising ambition, then you may also like Margaux de Laurent and Ellis Baum. The action centers around painter Ernst Engle’s work, Woman on Fire.

Ellis is a famous shoe designer and Margaux is a wealthy art collector and gallery owner. Each woman wants to find the painting for their own reasons. It’s a race the finish line with journalist Jules Roth hot on the trail.

This book is a tense historical thriller featuring ambitious women, Nazi loot, and a character with psychopathic tendencies.

The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

If you liked The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo‘s whole, “let’s confess our secrets to a writer” thing, then The Thirteenth Tale is a great comp for you.

Biographer Mia Lee has been commissioned by famous author Vida Winters. After many decades of spinning out fictional versions of her life, Vida is ready to tell her final, thirteenth tale. This tale will be the true story that uncovers her dark family secrets.

And there are so, so many dark family secrets. At the Angelfield mansion, you’ll find damaged souls, dead twins, forbidden romance, and more…all shrouded in a thick gothic fog.

Read it for book club and use our The Thirteenth Tale reading guide.

Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead

With Great Circle, you get a strong dash of Evelyn Hugo’s Hollywood along with two strong women who each want to chart their own course. And as a bonus, the book was shortlisted for a Booker prize in 2021.

Marion Graves is a thrill-seeking aviator in the prohibition era, who sets out to explore the world, from pole to pole. Hadley Baxter is an actress hired to play Marion in a modern-day film shoot. Marion’s backstory covers shipwrecks (and plane wrecks), bootlegging, secret lovers, murder and ambition. With Hadley, you get a woman who is stuck in a Hollywood type-casting rut and hoping that playing Marion will be her ticket to more interesting roles.

More Readalike Lists

If you want to dig more deeply into other favorite reads, try our other readalike lists.

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