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Writers & Lovers by Lily King
Literary fiction

Writers & Lovers

by Lily King

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Quick take

From the author of Euphoria, an intimate introspective of an aspiring writer who's tangled in love with two men.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Cerebral


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LoveTriangle

    Love triangle

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Millenial



Blindsided by her mother's sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan. Her mail consists of wedding invitations and final notices from debt collectors. A former child golf prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, moldy room at the side of a garage where she works on the novel she's been writing for six years. At thirty-one, Casey is still clutching onto something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, her world fractures even more. Casey's fight to fulfill her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink.

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Get an early look from the first pages of Writers & Lovers.
Writers & Lovers

I have a pact with myself not to think about money in the morning. I’m like a teenager trying not to think about sex. But I’m also trying not to think about sex. Or Luke. Or death. Which means not thinking about my mother, who died on vacation last winter. There are so many things I can’t think about in order to write in the morning.


Adam, my landlord, watches me walk his dog. He leans against his Benz in a suit and sparkling shoes as I come back up the driveway. He’s needy in the morning. Everyone is, I suppose. He enjoys his contrast to me in my sweats and untamed hair.

When the dog and I are closer he says, ‘You’re up early.’

I’m always up early. ‘So are you.’

‘Meeting with the judge at the courthouse at seven sharp.’

Admire me. Admire me. Admire judge and courthouse and seven sharp.

‘Somebody’s gotta do it.’ I don’t like myself around Adam. I don’t think he wants me to. I let the dog yank me a few steps past him toward a squirrel squeezing through some slats at the side of his big house.

‘So,’ he says, unwilling to let me get too far away. ‘How’s the novel?’ He says it like I made the word up myself. He’s still leaning against his car and turning only his head in my direction, as if he likes his pose too much to undo it.

‘It’s all right.’ The bees in my chest stir. A few creep down the inside of my arm. One conversation can destroy my whole morning. ‘I’ve got to get back to it. Short day. Working a double.’

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Why I love it

How long should you hold onto dreams that just won’t become realities? Can you really have a great love and a fulfilling career? In Lily King’s new novel, we meet our protagonist, Casey Peabody, at a moment in life when she must face her future head-on—and finally answer these questions.

After the unexpected death of her beloved mother, Casey moves back to her college stomping grounds in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She’s an unpublished writer, barely making ends meet in her waitressing job—admittedly not where she wanted to be in her early thirties. As if that all wasn’t enough, she also finds herself struggling romantically as she ends up in a love triangle between a writing professor and his student. Which partner, if either, will encourage her to find her voice as a partner and a writer?

Casey is smart and driven, and despite her tremendous grief and feelings of inadequacy, she never stops trying to discover who she is. In the end, though I won’t tell you how, it isn’t the men in her life that lift her up but her self-confidence that makes a difference. It’s been a whole year since I started picking books for my Read With Jenna book club, and I think this one is particularly special. I hope you will read with us in March and fall in love with Casey Peabody just like I did.

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Member ratings (10,050)

  • Covington D.

    Nashville, TN

    Perfect summer read. A little bit of romance? ✔️ A little bit of mysterious intrigue? ✔️ A little bit of real-life relativity of growing into your own person and figuring out your path? ✔️ Recommend.

  • Colleen D.

    Lawrenceville, GA

    This book should absolutely be a “must read” for millenials! The transition to “grown up” isn’t an easy one for anybody. We all meet our challenges and Casey is doing a pretty good job of navigating.

  • Blair M.

    Corinth, NY

    I’m not exactly sure what made me love this book so much, as it’s not super heavy on plot-but it is heavy on character development & man, I felt like I could feel the main character, Casey in my bones

  • Andie T.

    Joliet, IL

    King perfectly captures the existential crisis that is life in your 20’s/30’s. Casey could be any of us, & I found myself sad for her missteps & rooting for her dream. Equalparts hopeful/heartbreaking

  • Kelly W.

    Roswell, GA

    I expect this will end up in my top favorites of 2020. I couldnt have loved this book any more than I do! Beautiful exploration of grief. Stunning story of rising up after hitting rock bottom. Loved♥️

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