Dear Librarians: A Letter from Amanda Eyre Ward, Author of Lovers and Liars

By Rachel Tran | February 26 2024 | NewsFrom the Author

Dear Librarians,

My new novel, Lovers and Liars, was partially inspired by my love of libraries and books. I was in the first semester of my Masters in Library Science when I sold my first novel.

I knew from the very beginning that Sylvie, the main character in Lovers and Liars, had to be an elementary school librarian. Sylvie Peacock is a young widow who falls in love with a mysterious reader after meeting him on a fictional dating app called “Check Out My Shelves.” Like many of my favorite librarians, Sylvie is vital, brilliant, hilarious, and fierce in her own way.

My love of libraries began before I went to kindergarten in suburban New York. As a scared kid, I took refuge in the children’s area of the Rye Free Reading Room, spending hours feeling safe (and hidden) amongst books. One of the first photographs of me was taken in the Rye library—I am sucking my thumb and curled up in a bean bag chair.

In college, I backed my beat-up car into the truck of a football player named Bim and needed to find a job in addition to my work-study position to pay for the dent I’d made in Bim’s rear bumper. The Williamstown Public Library hired me to shelve books on the weekends, and I adored the quiet building, peopled by locals and my fellow librarians, who gave me advice about my disastrous love life until the day I graduated.

In graduate school, I got a job in the Inter-Library Loan Office at the University of Montana, where we loaned books (unknowingly) to the Unabomber. I also met my future husband, who may have only asked me on a date because I had connections and could get him his geological papers quickly. (“Quickly” is a relative term: we used OCLC and fax machines!)

After I married, I wrote novels and took care of my toddlers on Cape Cod; in Waterville, Maine; and in Ouray, Colorado. I spent entire mornings at public libraries, one of the few heated buildings that would allow my crazy young sons inside. I still long for the feeling of being inside a library and frequent Town Lake Library in Austin, TX and the libraries at my kids’ schools. (Even without an MLS, generous librarians will allow me to shelve books.) My dyslexic son discovered a love of graphic novels in the public library, and my daughter has just started hitting the YA section and taking home long audio books. (She prefers books set during the Great Depression and written in verse.)

I could talk for hours about libraries—why I need them, what they provide, what threats they face—but what I’ve learned is that a librarian is the perfect main character for a novel because librarians know absolutely everything about their patrons and their town. (In fact, the first person who knew I was pregnant was the librarian at the Ouray Public Library, who helped me locate What to Expect When You’re Expecting on the shelves and then said not a word as she checked it out for me.)

I hope you enjoy meeting Sylvie Peacock, her betrothed, and the sisters who travel to England for their castle wedding.  Though I will warn you that Simon does have flaws: one is that he shelves nonfiction in alphabetical order!

Thanks, as always, for your support.


Lovers and Liars
A Novel
Three wildly different sisters reunite for a destination wedding at an English castle in this heartfelt and rollicking novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Jetsetters.