Friday, July 04, 2014

Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Landline
Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Adult, Romance
Publication date: July 8th 2014
by St. Martin's Press

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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?
-A copy was provided by St. Martin's Press for review-

Landline is different from what I expected: first of all it’s an adult book which I only realized when I started it, but this is totally my fault and also not a bad thing. I was due for an adult book. And, unlike her usual contemporary reads, this one has a bit of a paranormal vibe to it. I’m not sure how I felt about this at first, I loved the mind-f*ck nature of it, but it has an element that very rarely impresses me [time-travel], so I was afraid of the direction it was going in. In the end, though, I can say I quite enjoyed the story. It has a bit of a fairy-tale quality to it, so have to go into it with an open mind, but it’s a wonderfully romantic journey that makes you stop and remember why you chose this life for yourself in the first place. May it be a marriage, a career, a hometown, you chose it for a reason. You were happy, maybe even passionate about these decisions once, but when things are hard it’s sometimes difficult to remember why.

What I know from Rainbow Rowell is that she knows how to craft realistic and wonderfully flawed characters, who are so easy to connect and relate to. Georgie’s marriage is crumbling, and she feels as if she’s losing it all – even her mind. Through flashbacks along with Georgie’s independent and determined personality, we get to see her fall in love. Not just with her now husband, but also with her best friend and career. We got to see what led her to choose this life for herself. How happy she was back then, and how life got in the way since. Even though she’s not always especially likeable, she has this effortless narrative voice, peppered with humour, that makes it easy to fly through the pages.

Aside from Georgie, every single secondary character is painted with such memorable qualities. Her sister, Heather, and her best friend Seth, quickly became my favorites. The latter for his sarcasm and liveliness, the former for her fun-loving personality and sisterly devotion. Even the smallest of roles – like the pizza delivery person and Neal’s mother – felt authentic and added to the overall charm of the story.

This is a romance through and through. It’s about a woman who needs to make a though decision to save her marriage. It’s a story that so many will be able to relate to. Juggling between a career and home life is never easy and, often, sacrifices need to be made, and dreams are not achieved. In the end, despite the “perfect” ending, I was left feeling uncertain towards the lasting quality of their relationship. I’m not even 100% sure I was rooting for them all along, to be honest. I definitely don’t agree with every decision Georgie did – she can be selfish, especially when it comes to her relationship with Seth, but Rowell does make us understand why it’s hard for her to let go.

This book touches on love and family, but also on guilt and self-worth. It’s a novel that paints realistic relationships, not idealistic ones. Because in reality, romance is rarely idealistic, and with many things in life, it’s only worth as much as the effort you put in.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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18 Responses to “Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell”

  1. Leanna

    Time travel can be really hit and miss for me, but this sounds like a pretty good read with true-to-life characters (which I love). I liked but didn’t love Fangirl (the only Rowell book I have read to date)and while everyone tells me that Eleanor & Park will be a better fit for me, I think I might give this one a try too.

  2. Lisa (Fic Talk)

    I keep hearing such good things about Rainbow Rowell and I was so excited when I found out about this book, especially due to the title “Landline” and the cover. It has that throwback feel that I love. I’m so glad that in the end it worked out for you, Giselle! Great review!

  3. Tina

    Loved this review. I have been looking forward to reading this book. I also didn’t realize it was an adult novel! The whole guilt and self worth thing really intrigues me the most.

  4. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    This seems like it’s a great novel, Giselle, as all Rainbow Rowell books seem to be. I don’t normally like to read books about couples in crisis, but you make me want to read this one. I do think the whole thing with the best friend would really frustrate me though. Still, I’m glad everything is handled well.
    Lovely review, Giselle! 🙂

  5. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    I’m catching up on what I missed during my 2 weeks off, and it seems like this book is EVERYWHERE! I’m actually kinda surprised that you reviewed it, but if a YA reader gave it 4 stars it just HAS to be good, right?

    Happy belated Canada Day! 🙂

    • Giselle

      I’m even reading another adult book right now! Sometimes I just need a break from YA, you know >.< (I actually only started reading YA after Twilight, yep, I'm a cliché! Don't tell anyone!)

  6. JennRenee

    I believe I would read just about anything from this author. I am glad you liked this book. I agree. The characters are very realistic and flawed but still so lovable.

  7. Meredith

    Time travel is so iffy at times. However, I’m almost positive that when time travel actually becomes reality then there will be more hits than misses.

  8. Chyna @ Lite-Rate-Ture

    Eeee this sounds amazing, Giselle!!! I just received a copy from St. Martin’s yesterday and I wasn’t all too excited about it. HEHE I’m not much of a fan for Rowell, Fangirl wasn’t really the book for me HAHA great review!

  9. Jennifer @ Some Like It Paranormal

    I just started this and I am enjoying it except her kids bother me. That is the only thing that holds me back from reading a lot of adult is when there is so much kid talk. LOL I just never like a characters kids. The phone thing was sort of a unique concept.

  10. Zoe

    The only Rowell book that I’ve read so far is Eleanor and Park, which I thought was fabulous, and just so cute and adorable. I feel like I just discovered this author again because I’m discovering all these books by her I didn’t know existed. One of the ones I’ve heard about a lot recently is Landline, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading it!

  11. Faye D'Social Potato

    I’ve never read a Rainbow Rowell as some of her contemporaries didn’t really interest me, but I would love for this one to be my very first. It sounds so amazing. And I never realized there would be Paranormal from the cover @.@ And plus, I really like books that have time-travel. It’s an awesome concept for me, something I’d love to read more of. Awesome review, Giselle!!!

  12. Kristilyn (Reading in Winter)

    This one looks so good! I had requested a copy from Raincoast but never got one, so I might have to bite the bullet and buy a copy! I love a good romance. 🙂 And I did really enjoy Eleanor & Park … I’ve heard Attachments is really good and also an adult novel.

  13. Pili

    I’m rather excited and scared about this one at the same time. Emotionally I’m not sure I’m at the right place to read this one, so I might just wait for a lil longer.
    Glad to hear you enjoyed it, Giselle!

  14. Sarah P.

    l’m glad you liked Landline, Giselle. I won’t hesitate in reading a Rainbow Rowell novel, but I haven’t been reading much from the adult genre so I’m quite nervous that I won’t be able to connect with the characters or the story. I’m pretty certain now that this won’t be the case because basing from your review, Rowell still has that magic when it comes to her characters. I’d definitely be picking up this book soon. Lovely review! 🙂