Landline: A Novel
Rainbow Rowell is best known for her young adult novels like “Eleanor and Park” and “Fangirl,” both of which are fabulous reads no matter what your age. Like those young adult novels, “Landline” is a romance that doesn’t insult your intelligence (or the characters) or contain any gratuitous sex, drugs, violence, or profanity. (Gratuitous doesn’t mean ‘none’ it just means only when the plot calls for it.)
In Landline, Georgie McCool is a comedy writer for a popular sitcom. She works with her best friend from college, Seth. When they find themselves about to land their dream deal for their own sitcom right before Christmas, Georgie makes the decision to let her husband, Neal, take their two daughters to Omaha without her so she can stay and work. Neal is not happy with her decision, and Georgie is worried that her relationship with Neal may be over, or at least on some seriously sharp rocks.
Until she finds that the landline in her mother’s home can call Neal as he was the Christmas they got engaged. How Georgie reacts to this ‘magic’ phone, and what happens to her relationship with Neal (and the sitcom) unfolds over the rest of the pages.
Rowell is a wonderful writer. The characters are three dimensional, subtle and nuanced – even her young daughters who only make small appearances have unique personalities. Their reactions to the situations they find themselves in is real and honest. The dialogue is snappy, real, and funny. Her descriptions of romantic moments are so heartfelt without ever being trite or maudlin. Her use of parenthetical asides could make up the entire subject of a creative writing class.
The pages fly by. The romance will melt the heart of the most cynical, and probably make you a little jealous. (Or is that just me?) And, those scenes are proof that a well written description of, say, just placing your cheek against that of a new love can be sexier than the most graphic of sex scenes.
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