Georgie and her husband, Neal, have hit a point in their marriage where things are tense. Always tense. They love each other, but work and life and two kids have taken their toll. Georgie announces days before they are supposed to leave to visit family in Omaha that she needs to stay home for Christmas to work. Neal leaves as planned with the kids, leaving Georgie behind. He stops picking up her calls. At her wit’s end, Georgie stumbles upon a way to connect with Neal, but Neal from the past. Her magic phone calls 20 years in the past to the first year of their relationship. Reconnecting with past Neal reminds Georgie of how they fell in love in the first place, before everything made its way in between them. Perhaps this will give her a second chance to fix things before it is too late.
What I love about Rainbow Rowell’s books is that they somehow always feel like they were written just for me. I don’t really have a life like any of her characters, but there is something about their lives and relationships that resonates with me. While I’m not sure I could really understand Georgie’s workaholism (no one will ever accuse me of being a workaholic), I did understand the tension in her marriage. I think anyone who has had a long term partner knows that there are times when you are closer to one another and times when you feel quite distant from one another. Those distant times are tough and scary and leave you feeling quite vulnerable. Georgie and Neal have hit one of those rough patches. I sort of wish we could all get a magic phone for those times, a chance to remember what made the good times good and to remember when love was new and exciting. The magic phone was an interesting narrative convention, too, as it allowed Rowell to tell a falling in love story at the same time she told a being in love and falling back in love story.
My biggest complaint with this book was the ending left something to be desired. Georgie decides it is her turn to make the big romantic gesture in the relationship. So she does and all is forgiven without so much as a conversation between Georgie and Neal. While sometimes it just takes a small thing to put a relationship back on track, I did not believe Georgie and Neal could be fixed as easily as they were. I would have liked to see an airing of grievances and rededication to one another, but that didn’t really happen.
All in all, this was another enjoyable Rainbow Rowell book and I will continue to read everything she publishes. I love her writing and her characters and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. This is probably her weakest book so far (this or Fangirl), but it was definitely worth the read. There aren’t too many books I can think of about being in love, so this was a welcome addition to the chick lit/romance (I guess that is what it is) genres.