cover image Landline


Rainbow Rowell, read by Rebecca Lowman. Macmillan Audio, , unabridged, seven CDs, 9 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-3932-7

Rowell’s touching romance has a supernatural twist, a telephonic portal that allows TV comedy writer Georgie to time travel back and forth from the present day to the period before she was married using a vintage rotary-dial telephone. Georgie and her husband, Neal, are struggling in their marriage at the beginning of the book. Georgie forgoes the family Christmas vacation to stay behind for work, while Neal, whose understated irritation is deftly implied by narrator Lowman, takes the planned trip with the kids. When Georgie can’t reach Neal, she discovers a magic landline that allows her present-day self to talk to a younger, bachelor version of Neal. Lowman captures the sweetness and vulnerability of their college courtship; there are intimate moments, spoken slowly and seductively, that are lovely and voyeuristic, including the couple’s first kiss. When Georgie coos Neal’s name, the heat is tangible. Lowman nimbly distinguishes between her women characters, capturing their confidence and quirkiness. Neal’s voice can be flat and is less appealing, but he isn’t supposed to be as charismatic as Georgie. Fans will enjoy this fresh take on the time warp. A St. Martin’s hardcover. (July)