A marriage in crisis, a magical intervention and a bittersweet choice.
TV writer Georgie McCool is trying to have it all, but it becomes clear that she’s failing when her husband, Neal, heads to Nebraska for a family Christmas with their kids—without her. The career opportunity of a lifetime has appeared, but now her marriage may be ending as a result. What seems to be the setup for just another contemporary novel about midlife struggles takes a near-paranormal turn when Georgie finds a way to talk to Neal, but he’s not the Neal who’s just left her. Instead, she’s talking to him in the past, right before they got engaged. As the days leading up to Christmas tick by, and Georgie goes back and forth between talking to the Neal she fell in love with and avoiding her rapidly crumbling current life, she starts to realize that she might be able to undo the complications of the present and has to decide whether she wants to. Though Rowell started her career writing adult fiction (Attachments, 2011), she leaped up the best-seller lists with teen novels that adults love too (Fangirl, 2013; Eleanor & Park, 2013); in this book, she’s taken the romantic excitement of great contemporary teen literature and applied it to a more mature story, examining whether the blush of first love explored so memorably in Eleanor & Park is enough to keep a couple together forever. Her characters are instantly lovable, and the story moves quickly and only a little predictably—the ending manages to surprise and satisfy all at once. Though some teens might not be interested in the story, adult fans will love Rowell’s return to a story close to their hearts.
The realities of a grown-up relationship are leavened by the buoyancy and wonder of falling in love all over again.