Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press
Published on July 8th 2014
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
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Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.
Maybe that was always besides the point.
Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.
When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.
That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .
Is that what she’s supposed to do?
Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened
Landline was such a breath of fresh air for both of us. As a HUGE Rainbow Rowell fan (Steph) and a Rainbow newbie (Brenna) we both couldn’t get enough of Georgie and Neal’s unique and very real love story. Check out our individual reviews below and be sure to go all the way to the bottom for an AWESOME giveaway!
MY RATING OF LANDLINE: 4.5 STARS
Oh, Landline. How you made my heart feel so full by the end… I seriously loved this book!
If you’ve read the synopsis, you know this is Georgie’s story during a very crucial time in her life. She’s just been given the opportunity of a lifetime to pitch her dream show to some big TV execs, only problem… it’s Christmas and she’s supposed to go away with her husband, Neal and their two little girls. While Georgie stays home to work some magic on her show with her writing partner and best friend, everything starts to hit Georgie at once. Is this the moment she ruined her marriage… by staying behind? Could she go back and fix her mistakes? Would Neal be better off without her? While spending some time at her childhood home, she discovers a way to speak with Neal before they were married using her old landline telephone. Being able to speak to Neal in the past makes Georgie wonder if she’s ruining her future (present) or if this is her chance to fix everything.
“You don’t know when you’re twenty-three.
You don’t know what it really means to crawl into someone’s life and stay there. You can’t see all the ways you’re going to get tangled, how you’re going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five, in ten— in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems.
You don’t know when you’re twenty-three.”
I’m learning about myself that I truly enjoy reading books about couples that are already together. I love knowing a couple is going to end up together (because that’s where the book begins) and even knowing where they are presently in their relationship then going back with the characters and seeing how they got there and viewing these pivotal moments that at the time maybe seemed inconsequential. It’s really a special experience and I especially enjoyed Neal and Georgie’s love story because it was so normal, yet so not. It was special in how real is felt.
“I think I can live without you… but it won’t be any kind of life.”
Neal. Loved him. I loved him through Georgie’s eyes and reliving moments throughout their relationship and marriage. He’s not a typical hero. He’s kind of grumpy and not outwardly emotional but he is such a good guy and has the biggest heart. His little quirks, — (“I never feel like laughing when things are funny,” he said. “I just think to myself, “Now that’s funny.” Oh Neal… lol) especially as described by Georgie were extremely endearing and I just loved the way he loved Georgie. Exactly as she was. And of course, I loved Georgie like crazy too.
“How could she ever doubt that he loved her? When loving her was what he did better than all the things he did beautifully.”
This was my first Rainbow Rowell book, but will certainly not be my last. I was talking with Steph about this as I was reading it – we all know she’s a HUGE Rainbow fanatic and she described the reading experience perfect; she said something along the lines of… “The way she sets up her stories is really different and she really makes you work for it ” And I found that to be so true. It’s not that the book is slow, it’s actually extremely well paced, but you do work for it. I was invested and was working toward that ending, that big culmination of this awesome story I’d been reading. The small moments/conversations just keep adding and building until you literally stop dead in your tracks and realize just how special the book you’re reading is. Or at least that’s how it was for me.
This gave me the Rainbow Rowell itch (be careful, it’s highly contagious) and I can’t wait to dive into more of her amazing stories.
MY RATING OF LANDLINE: 5 STARS
As of late, I’ve had a hard time reading within the contemporary romance genre, as I feel like many books I’ve read have felt one-dimensional, and/or gimmicky. I struggle to connect with characters in those books, as the stories always have the “too-good-to-be-true” vibe. A lot of drama for the sake of drama, and too many happily ever afters that are thrust upon the characters for the sake of placating the reader. I am not a fan of everything being flowers and sunshine when it comes to romance. I am a realistic person, and I know that love ain’t always so easy. Sometimes, we have to be reminded of the uglier sides of love: the mistakes, the struggles, and failures that come along with it. Needless to say, I was in search of a realistic romance novel, and I think it’s safe to say that I found that in Landline.
This book was like a breath of fresh air for me. As with all other Rainbow Rowell novels, Landline had characters who are HUMAN (AKA: not perfect). The story begins in “present-day”, where we get a glimpse of what a marriage can look like after two people are together for nineteen years. You see the toll that a career, children, and other responsibilities can have on a relationship. There are some traces of joy here and there, but sometimes, all you FEEL are echoes of a love that has lost it’s luster. It is at this point that Georgie McCool realizes that in order to fix her future with her husband Neal, she has to look back to the past. (And if you haven’t seen in the synopsis, she does this when she accidentally comes upon a magic time-traveling landline phone that connects her with her husband 15 years in the past.)
“She didn’t want to hear him tell her how much better off she was without Neal. Georgie wasn’t better off. Even if Neal was right—even if they’d never make it work together, even if they were fundamentally wrong for each other—she still wasn’t better off without him. (Even if your heart is broken and attacking you, you’re still not better off without it.)”
Throughout the book, we are able to see where there love began, and we watch Georgie piece together her struggling marriage by clinging reflecting upon all the good that once made her fall in love with her husband in the first place.
With each new book that Rainbow Rowell releases, I become more and more convinced that she is a literary genius. She has a very distinctive way about her writing, and I find that the moments I always look forward to are the swoon-inducing scenes that are brought on by the simplest word combos:
“I love you,” he said. “I love you more than I hate everything else.”
“Neal didn’t take Georgie’s breath away. Maybe the opposite. But that was okay—that was really good, actually, to be near someone who filled your lungs with air.”
Rainbow’s books always come off genuine to me, and Landline was no exception. I love that her books keep you guessing, and can go from putting a smile on your face, to putting tears in your eyes. Every character held their own in this book. From Georgie and her husband Neal, to their daughters Alice and Noomi (“meow!”), their parents (Neal & Georgie’s), the siblings, and the pugs, (yes, I am talking about the canines), each added their own flavor to the story, and helped to keep me enthralled from start to finish. This book was yet another wonderful emotionally charged story, that had an ending that stayed with me long after I read it. This book was a wonderful depiction of how bittersweet love can be, and how important it is to never take that love for granted.
“I’m not asking you to promise me that everything will be perfect,” Neal said. “Just promise me that you’ll try. “
Georgie’d wanted to be Grafton, but Neal wouldn’t let her. “You don’t come into this world with a name like Georgie McCool and throw it away on the first pretty face.” “You’re not that pretty.” “Georgie McCool. Are you kidding me—you’re a Bond girl. You can’t change your name.” “But I’m going to be your wife.” “I know. And I don’t need you to change anything.”
“Do you love me, Georgie?” “More than anything,” she said. Because she was still telling the truth, damn the torpedoes. “More than everything.”
Eleanor & Park
Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . “
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.
By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.
What would he say . . . ?
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
1 Winner will win a PRINT ARC of LANDLINE! (Pictured below)
1 Winner will win an EBOOK copy of LANDLINE (Either Kindle or Nook)