George and Lizzie

A Novel

George and Lizzie

From “America’s librarian” and NPR books commentator Nancy Pearl comes an emotional, “Anne-Tyler-esque” (Library Journal) debut novel about an unlikely marriage at a crossroads.

George and Lizzie are a couple, meeting as college students and marrying soon after graduation, but no one would ever describe them of being soulmates. George grew up in a warm and loving family—his father an orthodontist, his mother a stay-at-home mom—while Lizzie was the only child of two famous psychologists, who viewed her more as an in-house experiment than a child to love.

After a decade of marriage, nothing has changed—George is happy; Lizzie remains…unfulfilled. But when George discovers that Lizzie has been searching for the whereabouts of an old boyfriend, Lizzie is forced to decide what love means to her, what George means to her, and whether her life with George is the one she wants.

With pitch-perfect prose and compassion and humor to spare, George and Lizzie is “a richly absorbing portrait of a perfectly imperfect marriage,” (Amy Poeppel, author of Small Admissions), and “a story of forgiveness, especially for one’s self” (The Washington Post).
  • Touchstone | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501162909 | 
  • July 2018
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for George & Lizzie includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Nancy Pearl. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


By the time Lizzie meets George, she has already been through so much heartache in her life that she finds it difficult to believe in love. Lizzie’s past has been shaped both by parents who seemed to have use for her only as a psychological case study, by the twenty-three starters on her high school football team that Lizzie slept with as a lark, and by Jack, the love of her life, who went home one summer and never returned or contacted Lizzie again.

In contrast, George is full of optimism about life and happy with his chosen career as a dentist, and he possesses a deep-seated love for his family back in Oklahoma. Despite their differences and Lizzie’s uncertainty about her feelings for him, they marry. But for Lizzie, it takes more than marriage to forget her troubled past and believe herself worthy of their relationship. Only when she is faced with tragedy and true loss is Lizzie is able to tell George some of the secrets she’s kept from him. By doing so she begins to learn what happiness means, and to see more

About the Author

Nancy Pearl
Photograph © Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl is known as “America’s Librarian.” She speaks about the pleasures of reading at library conferences, to literacy organizations and community groups throughout the world and comments on books regularly on NPR’s Morning Edition.  Born and raised in Detroit, she received her master’s degree in library science in 1967 from the University of Michigan. She also received an MA in history from Oklahoma State University in 1977. Among her many honors and awards are the 2011 Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal; and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. She also hosts a monthly television show, Book Lust with Nancy Pearl. She lives in Seattle with her husband.