10 Books to Read if You Loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fan favorite when it comes to contemporary authors. Her titles become immediate best sellers. Not only are her novels popular, they’re great as well (not always the case) often telling emotionally complex stories of families and relationships.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was my favorite read of 2019, out of 182 books. I’ve lent my copy to eight different people who all loved it as well. Whenever someone asks for “a good book recommendation” this is where I start.
Since so many readers I know have loved Evelyn Hugo’s story, I figured it was time to suggest some similar stories.
10 Books to Read if You Loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
This work of historical fiction revolves around show girls in New York City in the 1940’s. It focuses on the lives of Americans, particularly women, at home during WWII. There’s lots of humor and drama, it’s an all around fantastic read.
In One Person by John Irving
Billy is a bisexual man who recounts the story of his life without holding back a darn thing. I laughed out loud many times, and was near tears a couple times too. This is the story of one man, but that includes the stories of his family and loved ones. The novel is part social commentary, part historical fiction – as Billy moves into adulthood, the AIDs crisis emerges.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
This work of historical fiction is set during the 1930’s-’40s in New York City, following a group of friends entering into high society. The story is an exploration of what a chance encounter can eventually lead to. It also looks at the consequences of the choices we make.
The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis
This dual time line novel is centered around an art school that used to exist in Grand Central terminal. It follows two women, one in the 1920’s and the other in the 1970’s. Eventually their stories begin to overlap and the building’s history is brought to light.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
This is the story of two siblings whose mother leaves when they are young. It’s their story, but also the story of this house they live in, which drove their mother to leave, and where they stay with their father. It’s difficult to sum up what this novel is about: Family, place, belonging, expectations, loyalty, obligation, forgiveness. It’s ultimately a family drama, packed with history and geographic details. The writing is poetic and vivid. It spans time and family generations, going back and forth to tell the story.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
This book came into my life at the right time. I received a serious health diagnosis a few months prior and had been wallowing in regrets and what-ifs, which is not something I did much before. Following along with Nora as she explores all the untaken paths in her life helped me to see that it’s not worth spending my energy on regrets. It motivated me to focus on my now and my future, which I appreciate. This is a beautiful written work of magical realism that asks if you had at the chance to go back and make different choices, would your life truly have been any better?
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
This is often categorized as a romance but it isn’t one in the traditional sense. It’s more of a platonic love story between two young women. Dannie and Bella have been best friends since childhood. Now as adults, their friendship is tested in different ways, and the way they preserve is beyond moving. All of the characters in the story are flawed yet loving, which makes them wonderfully realistic and relatable. Even when they make “poor choices,” it’s easy to see why.
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
This is a stunning family drama. It’s beautifully written, the author obviously taking care to get details right when it comes to life for immigrants, and police officers, as well as mental illness, addiction, and how family members are affected by these issues. At its center, this is a love story, and it’s not fluffed up. It shows what it means to truly love someone unconditionally. It’s about many different kinds of love, about family, and loyalty.
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
This is a novel in a series of shorter pieces. From these different points of view, we get a better portrait of Olive Kitteridge as a woman and a human being, than we would have from a straightforward narrative. The writing is artistic, and the scenes evoke a great deal of emotion and imagery.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The list wouldn’t be complete without another recommendation by the same author. This is her newest release, a multi-generational family drama that follows the Riva family in Malibu, California. We get alternating timelines between one day in 1983 and the history of the family starting with the Riva children’s grandparents. The ocean is as much of a character as the humans are. The descriptions of Malibu and the coast are vivd and I could almost hear and smell the ocean! Ultimately, it’s a compelling story about family and what people are willing to do for those they love.