Landline: A Novel by Rainbow RowellLandline: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell

Landline: A Novel

byRainbow Rowell

Hardcover | February 1, 2019

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#1 New York Times bestselling author! A New York Times Best Seller! Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Best Fiction of 2014! An Indie Next Pick!

From New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell, comes a hilarious, heart-wrenching take on love, marriage, and magic phones.

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 beside the point now.
Maybe that was always beside 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 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?

RAINBOW ROWELL lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband and two sons. She's also the author of Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, and Attachments.
Title:Landline: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.46 × 6.38 × 1.12 inPublished:February 1, 2019Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250049377

ISBN - 13:9781250049377

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Rated 2 out of 5 by from landline I couldn't get involved in it at all. Seemed kind of juvenille...the fact that the main character writes for the really bad children tv shows didn't help...I've loved all Rainbow Rowell's other books, but this one just didn't do it for me. The premise was ridiculous and I hated pretty much every character except Heather. Especially Neal, GOD I hated Neal, what an awful, miserable person. I'm really confused as to how he's supposed to be an appealing character since he's not even described with any redeeming qualities really - a short, fat guy who never laughs, smiles or expresses his feelings in any way, apart from just silently projecting misery and resentment at his wife without ever actually bringing up the fact that anything is wrong. Every woman's dream! I couldn't understand why Georgie would have even wanted to marry him in the first place, let alone save their marriage which sounds horrible and depressing.
Date published: 2017-12-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fine but not a favourite I've read a lot of other Rainbow Rowell books, but this one was definitely different. Story was pretty slow and the protagonist at times can be hard to relate to but not necessarily a bad read.
Date published: 2017-08-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I sort of, almost liked this one, but not quite Georgie (whose name is way too cutesy and childish for a grown woman), who frequently puts work first, has spent nearly 2 decades telling her husband that she'll be a better partner and ends the book on the same note. Her husband, Neal, is passive-aggressive and generally described as a grumpy, hobbit-like man, with varying degrees of plumpness throughout their relationship. The secondary characters are all flat and boring except for Georgie's sister, Heather. And her co-worker/best friend Seth is your run-of-the-mill playboy twat. It was a quick read (I started it before bed and finished it the next morning). I would give Rowell another read, but I could have easily avoided this one without feeling like I missed out on something.
Date published: 2017-07-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! Not my favourite Rainbow Rowell but still a great read!
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A very mild story about family and a magical phone Not her best work but it's still definitely an interesting if not mildly uneventful read. The plot I think is intentionally paced to fit the time frame and have you be entrenched in the main character's thought process, not much happens in terms of plot, but there is definitely character growth and discovery, it just takes a while to get there.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good but not that great It's a good book for people who are married or getting married. You get some ideas of how a married life looks like. But there are some points in the story that I get bored but all in all it's a good book. Rainbow Rowell did a good job on this one. But E&P is still better.
Date published: 2015-06-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Landline Slow moving and only mildly interesting. Its a definite pass as far as im concerned. Not recommended,
Date published: 2015-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from reflections of the past This story was a tough one to put down. The story of a marriage going downhill and the characters are at a crossroads. Georgie decides she needs to stay home to attend to work matters and cancel the plans for Christmas to return to her husband 's hometown . Her husband and the kids go and leave Georgie with an old telephone from her past life .She revisits her past and discovers that she may have made mistakes that may not be fixable . Or are they?
Date published: 2015-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Smart and Lovely Landline was a touching story of a woman trying to reignite her loveless marriage via the aide of a magic telephone. Georgie is funny, flawed, and wonderfully portrayed as a woman learning what matters most in her life. The telephone conceit is refreshing and well-done, and you root for Georgie and Neal the whole time. I enjoyed the balance of romance and humour a lot.
Date published: 2014-11-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A lovely book about marriage and family Georgie is a writer for a popular tv show. When she has to work over the holiday season, her husband and daughters take residence in his family's home in Omaha, leaving Georgie home to work with her co-worker and best friend. Through a magical phone that appears to hold the secrets to the past, she discovers which is more important to her, her work or her family. Landline is an interesting book to say the least. I was gripped by Rainbow's writing this time around and I wanted to know if Georgie would choose her work or her family. This problem is relevant in our modern day and age where working mothers struggle to do both. I like the fact that she's the breadwinner in this case. I don't like the fact that she had to apologize for wanting to pursue her dream and go after it. Who says that you have to devote all your time to one thing over the other? It's always best to balance both aspects so no one loses. This is what Georgie struggles through. Landline is also a book about marriage. What it takes to stay there, what it takes to want to stay in a relationship etc. I thought it was wonderfully written. I loved seeing Georgie and Neal fall in love. What I didn't fully understand was the phone. How in the world did it work? Was it just her imagination? I passed it off as her trying to comprehend her situation. And more importantly, that she missed her husband so much that she ended up talking to him through a phone that connected to the past. Overall, I would recommend this one for its beautiful writing and touching moments, it's another one to add to your Rowell collection. Also, that cover..I LOVE it.
Date published: 2014-10-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cute This review is published on my blog: Feeling a Little Bookish ( I think that Rainbow Rowell is one of my new favourites. I have read all her novels and I have to say I have enjoyed them all. I'll admit to Fangirl not being my fave but the rest I have greatly enjoyed. This book is no exception. First of all, how could you not like a book with a main character named Georgie McCool? This character is the epitome of independent woman. Her life is in a bit of a shamble when we first meet her. She is skipping out on her family's Christmas trip to Omaha in order to work. She works with her best friend, who just happens to be a guy who used to be someone she crushed on. For obvious reasons, this pisses off her husband Neal and he decides to take their children to Omaha anyhow. Georgie is by herself and this gives her time to evaluate her life. While all of this is going on she comes across a magical phone that allows her to speak to her husband in Omaha. Why is this magical you ask? Well she is speaking to Neal of the past, Neal from the 90s before they got married. This book read really easily and I finished within 24 hours. This is the perfect beach read. You'll want to be reading this while sprawled out on a towel enjoying the sunshine. It's fun while still making you question a few things. For example, are our lives predestined by fate? How much control do we have over where our lives take us? Also, how do our actions affect our future? The smallest thing can set in motion a whole set of events. I also think that it makes you think about life/work balance. How much ambition is too much? I have to admit to being a pretty independent woman. I have been on my own since I was 17 and sometimes it's hard to accept help from others, even my husband. In this way, I could relate to Georgie. She is very independent and she likes to work hard. This has caused some rifts in her marriage and it's up to her to fix them. While I really enjoyed this novel, it is pretty light. I would have liked to see a little bit more character development and a little more interaction between Georgie and Neal. I'd say that's a pretty small gripe and Rowell is on my auto-buy list. Go out and get this for your cottage days/beach days.
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I liked this book... This was a great book! I loved the idea of talking to your younger husband/boyfriend. I wish I could do that! The characters in this book were likeable and funny. Georgie knows that something is wrong with her marriage to Neal, she just doesn't know how to fix it. While talking to Neal in the past (which makes for some hilarious dialogue) she rediscovers why she loves him so much, but is love enough? I have never read any other books by this author, but I think I might now. All in all, a very heartwarming tale and I would recommend this book to others.
Date published: 2014-07-20

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 1 Georgie pulled into the driveway, swerving to miss a bike.Neal never made Alice put it away.Apparently bicycles never got stolen back in Nebraska—and people never tried to break in to your house. Neal didn’t even lock the front door most nights until after Georgie came home, though she’d told him that was like putting a sign in the yard that said PLEASE ROB US AT GUNPOINT. “No,” he’d said. “That would be different, I think.”She hauled the bike up onto the porch and opened the (unlocked) door.The lights were off in the living room, but the TV was still on. Alice had fallen asleep on the couch watching Pink Panther cartoons. Georgie went to turn it off and stumbled over a bowl of milk sitting on the floor. There was a stack of laundry folded on the coffee table—she grabbed whatever was on the top to wipe it up.When Neal stepped into the archway between the living room and the dining room, Georgie was crouched on the floor, sopping up milk with a pair of her own underwear.“Sorry,” he said. “Alice wanted to put milk out for Noomi.”“It’s okay, I wasn’t paying attention.” Georgie stood up, wadding the wet underwear in her fist. She nodded at Alice. “Is she feeling okay?”Neal reached out and took the underwear, then picked up the bowl. “She’s fine. I told her she could wait up for you. It was this whole negotiation over eating her kale and not using the word ‘literally’ anymore because it’s literally driving me crazy.” He looked back at Georgie on his way to the kitchen. “You hungry?”“Yeah,” she said, following him.Neal was in a good mood tonight. Usually when Georgie got home this late … Well, usually when Georgie got home this late, he wasn’t.She sat at the breakfast bar, clearing a space for her elbows among the bills and library books and second-grade worksheets.Neal walked to the stove and turned on a burner. He was wearing pajama pants and a white T-shirt, and he looked like he’d just gotten a haircut—probably for their trip. If Georgie touched the back of his head now, it’d feel like velvet one way and needles the other.“I wasn’t sure what you wanted to pack,” he said. “But I washed everything in your hamper. Don’t forget that’s it’s cold there—you always forget that it’s cold.”She always ended up stealing Neal’s sweaters.He was in such a good mood tonight.… He smiled as he made up her plate. Stir-fry. Salmon. Kale. Other green things. He crushed a handful of cashews in his fist and sprinkled them on top, then set the plate in front of her.When Neal smiled, he had dimples like parentheses—stubbly parentheses. Georgie wanted to pull him over the breakfast bar and nose at his cheeks. (That was her standard response to Neal smiling.) (Though Neal probably wouldn’t know that.)“I think I washed all your jeans…,” he said, pouring her a glass of wine.Georgie took a deep breath. She just had to get this over with. “I got good news today.”He leaned back against the counter and raised an eyebrow. “Yeah?”“Yeah. So … Maher Jafari wants our show.”“What’s a Maher Jafari?”“He’s the network guy we’ve been talking to. The one who green-lit The Lobby and that new reality show about tobacco farmers.”“Right.” Neal nodded. “The network guy. I thought he was giving you the cold shoulder.”“We thought he was giving us the cold shoulder,” Georgie said. “Apparently he just has cold shoulders.”“Huh. Wow. That is good news. So—” He cocked his head to the side. “—why don’t you seem happy?”“I’m thrilled,” Georgie said. Shrilly. God. She was probably sweating. “He wants a pilot, scripts. We’ve got a big meeting to talk casting.…”“That’s great,” Neal said, waiting. He knew she was burying the lead.Georgie closed her eyes. “… on the twenty-seventh.”The kitchen was quiet. She opened them. Ah, there was the Neal she knew and loved. (Truly. On both counts.) The folded arms, the narrowed eyes, the knots of muscle in both corners of his jaw.“We’re going to be in Omaha on the twenty-seventh,” he said.“I know,” she said. “Neal, I know.”“So? Are you planning to fly back to L.A. early?”“No, I … we have to get the scripts ready before then. Seth thought—”“Seth.”“All we’ve got done is the pilot,” Georgie said. “We’ve got nine days to write four episodes and get ready for the meeting—it’s really lucky that we have some time off from Jeff’d Up this week.”“You have time off because it’s Christmas.”“I know that it’s Christmas, Neal—I’m not skipping Christmas.”“You’re not?”“No. Just skipping … Omaha. I thought we could all skip Omaha.”“We already have plane tickets.”“Neal. It’s a pilot. A deal. With our dream network.”Georgie felt like she was reading from a script. She’d already had this entire conversation, almost verbatim, this afternoon with Seth.… “It’s Christmas,” she’d argued. They were in their office, and Seth was sitting on Georgie’s side of the big L-shaped desk they shared. He’d had her cornered.“Come on, Georgie, we’ll still have Christmas—we’ll have the best Christmas ever after the meeting.”“Tell that to my kids.”“I will. Your kids love me.”“Seth, it’s Christmas. Can’t this meeting wait?”“We’ve already been waiting our whole career. This is happening, Georgie. Now. It’s finally happening.”Seth wouldn’t stop saying her name.Neal’s nostrils were flaring.“My mom’s expecting us,” he said.“I know,” Georgie whispered.“And the kids … Alice sent Santa Claus a change-of-address card, so he’d know she’d be in Omaha.”Georgie tried to smile. It was a weak effort. “I think he’ll figure it out.”“That’s not—” Neal shoved the corkscrew in a drawer, then slammed it shut. His voice dropped. “That’s not the point.”“I know.” She leaned over her plate. “But we can go see your mom next month.”“And take Alice out of school?”“If we have to.”Neal had both hands on the counter, clenching the muscles in his forearms. Like he was retroactively bracing himself for bad news. His head was hanging down, and his hair fell away from his forehead.“This might be our shot,” Georgie said. “Our own show.”Neal nodded without lifting his head. “Right,” he said. His voice was soft and flat.Georgie waited.Sometimes she lost her place when she was arguing with Neal. The argument would shift into something else—into somewhere more dangerous—and Georgie wouldn’t even realize it. Sometimes Neal would end the conversation or abandon it while she was still making her point, and she’d just go on arguing long after he’d checked out.Georgie wasn’t sure whether this even qualified as an argument. Yet.So she waited.Neal hung his head.“What does ‘right’ mean?” she finally asked.He pushed off the counter, all bare arms and square shoulders. “It means that you’re right. Obviously.” He started clearing the stove. “You have to go to this meeting. It’s important.”He said it almost lightly. Maybe everything was going to be fine, after all. Maybe he’d even be excited for her. Eventually.“So,” she said, testing the air between them. “We’ll see about visiting your mom next month?”Neal opened the dishwasher and started gathering up dishes. “No.”Georgie pressed her lips together and bit them. “You don’t want to take Alice out of school?”He shook his head.She watched him load the dishwasher. “This summer, then?”His head jerked slightly, like something had brushed his ear. Neal had lovely ears. A little too big, and they poked out at the top like wings. Georgie liked to hold his head by his ears. When he’d let her.She could imagine his head in her hands now. Could feel her thumbs stroking the tops of his ears, her knuckles brushing against his clippered hair.“No,” he said again, standing up straight and wiping his palms on his pajama pants. “We’ve already got plane tickets.”“Neal, I’m serious. I can’t miss this meeting.”“I know,” he said, turning toward her. His jaw was set. Permanently.Back in college, Neal had thought about joining the military; he would have been really good at the part where you have to deliver terrible news or execute a heartbreaking order without betraying how much it was costing you. Neal’s face could fly the Enola Gay.“I don’t understand,” Georgie said.“You can’t miss this meeting,” he said. “And we already have plane tickets. You’ll be working all week anyway. So you stay here, focus on your show—and we’ll go see my mom.”“But it’s Christmas. The kids—”“They can have Christmas again with you when we get back. They’ll love that. Two Christmases.”Georgie wasn’t sure how to react. Maybe if Neal had been smiling when he said that last thing … He motioned at her plate. “Do you want me to heat that back up for you?”“It’s fine,” she said.He nodded his head, minimally, then brushed past her, leaning over just enough to touch his lips to her cheek. Then he was in the living room, lifting Alice up off the couch. Georgie could hear him shushing her—“It’s okay, sweetie, I’ve got you”—and climbing the stairs. Copyright © 2014 by Rainbow Rowell

Editorial Reviews

"The magic phone becomes Ms. Rowell's way to rewrite 'It's a Wonderful Life'.what that film accomplished with an angel named Clarence, Ms. Rowell accomplishes with a quaint old means of communication, and for her narrative purposes, it really does the trick." -The New York Times"While the topic might have changed, this is still Rowell--reading her work feels like listening to your hilariously insightful best friend tell her best stories." -Library Journal, starred review on Landline"Her characters are instantly lovable, and the story moves quickly.the ending manages to surprise and satisfy all at once. Fans will love Rowell's return to a story close to their hearts." -Kirkus Reviews on Landline"Rowell is, as always, a fluent and enjoyable writer--the pages whip by." -Publishers Weekly on Landline"Keen psychological insight, irrepressible humor and a supernatural twist: a woman can call her husband in the past." -Time Magazine on Landline"Rowell pulls off this impossible premise with great charm, and her depictions of the couple's sweet courtship and their later compromise-filled marriage are equally unsentimental and knowing." -Curtis Sittenfeld for The New Yorker"The dialogue flows naturally; it's zippy, funny, and fresh. The flirtation between young Georgie and Neal is genuinely romantic." -Boston Globe"After the blazing successes of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Attachments, it's become clear that Rowell is an absolute master of rendering emotionally authentic and absorbing stories...While the novel soars in its more poignant moments, Rowell injects the proper dose of humor to keep you laughing through your tears." -RT Book Reviews on Landline"To skip her work because of its rom-com sheen would be to miss out on the kind of swift, canny honesty of that passage, which is typical of the pleasures of Landline -- it's a book that's a joy from sentence to sentence, and on that intimate level there's absolutely nothing unoriginal or clichéd in the way Rowell thinks. Her work is dense with moments of sharp observation.and humor." -Chicago Tribune Printers Row"But a focus on the endings is the wrong one when you're reading a book of Rowell's. What matters most are the middles, which she packs with thoughtful dissections of how we live today, reflections upon the many ways in which we can love and connect as humans, and tacit reassurances of the validity of our feelings regardless of our particular experiences." on Landline"Landline might not have any teenage protagonists, but it does have all the pleasures of Rowell's YA work -- immediate writing that's warm and energetic""More gentle, more real than Douglas Coupland, more smooth and also more clever than Helen Fielding. Truly, slowly, sweetly gorgeous." -The Globe & Mail