REVIEW: The Last Phone Booth in Manhattan by Beth Merlin & Danielle Modafferi

Posted February 20th, 2024 by in Blog, Review, Women's Fic - Chick-lit / 7 comments


In The Last Phone Booth in Manhattan by Beth Merlin & Danielle Modafferi, After years of struggling to make it big on Broadway, Avery Lawrence left the auditions behind and instead spends her days in the lap of luxury thanks to her successful fiancé Adam. But less than 48 hours after they get engaged, the Feds nearly knock down their (fancy) NYC apartment door and arrest Adam on the spot. Avery can’t believe she’s been deceived on such an extreme level–or that Adam could really be a con man. And that’s only the start of the downhill slide her life takes. Because after giving up her job and her old apartment to live with Adam, Avery now has very little money of her own and nowhere to go once they are evicted. Can you say rock bottom?

“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.”

Leaving the federal prison after Adam’s arrest and with no money or phone available to get home, Avery is directed to the last phone booth left in Manhattan by a prison guard. Armed with a phone number and no idea who she’s calling, she’s shocked that the person who answers gives her an address that turns out to belong to her ex-boyfriend Gabe. And as Avery picks up her life, oh so slowly, Gabe becomes a fixture in it. Someone she can rely on. But as she once again sets her sights on Broadway, some of the same issues from their past interfere. It will be up to Avery to figure out if she’s letting the phone booth direct her path, or if she’s the one calling the shots. And what that will mean for her career and love life.

“I’ve never known a woman who had such a bright light within them. It could light up all of Manhattan if you’d just let it.”

An imaginative modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, THE LAST PHONE BOOTH IN MANHATTAN wasn’t so much about the holiday itself. Instead, it was about one woman’s struggle to believe in herself again as she chased her dreams from the past and present into an uncertain future.

“It feels like maybe the universe is giving me a second chance to get it all right this time.”

Author duo Beth Merlin & Danielle Modafferi created an entertaining, emotional story in THE LAST PHONE BOOTH IN MANHATTAN. Told from our heroine Avery’s perspective as her life spiraled completely out of control, it was a heartwarming thing to watch her pull herself up by her bootstraps and carry on. How Avery changed from the start of the novel to the end was impressive. And rather heartbreaking at times. But the offbeat, lovable secondary cast that rallied around her made each step a little less painful for Avery and reminded her of how strong and capable she truly was.

While there was some romance involved in Avery’s story, the majority of the focus was on her path forward after finding out how her fiancé duped her and countless others and then subsequently losing her ritzy NYC apartment and her way of life. It was pretty easy to see why Avery immersed herself in all the wealth and opportunities it provided. After years of trying to make it on Broadway, getting rejection after rejection, she was pretty worn down from it. Was it still her dream, though? Yes. And once her smarmy ex was out of the picture, Avery realized she could give it another shot. It wasn’t an easy process. But she worked her hardest to make the most of the second chance she’d been given. I think readers will enjoy the ending–even if it didn’t exactly work out the way I thought it would–as it left Avery’s future wide open and on a very promising trajectory.

QOTD: Have you ever used (or even seen!) a phone booth?

Book Info:

Publication: Published: January 1st, 2024 | by Montlake |

When a young woman hits rock bottom, she embarks on a positively Dickensian adventure in a witty and warmhearted novel about past regrets, old loves, new beginnings, and making up for lost time.

Avery Lawrence thought she had it all—a charming fiancé, a Broadway-themed star-studded engagement, and a picture-perfect life. But when her fraudster of a fiancé’s true identity is exposed and he’s hauled away in handcuffs, Avery’s world comes crashing down faster than the chandelier in Phantom of the Opera. Left stranded on Christmas Day outside the federal prison without her cell phone or wallet, Avery stumbles out of the cold and into the last phone booth in Manhattan. With nothing left to lose, Avery is directed by a mysterious voice on the line to the doorstep of the college boyfriend she thought she’d moved on from over six years ago.

When a second encounter with the phone booth leads Avery to a life-changing audition for Marley Is Dead, a new musical based on Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Avery is blown away by the striking similarities between the show and her own life. Convinced the phone booth is somehow responsible for reuniting her with “the one that got away” and reigniting her acting career, maybe she will finally have the chance to rewrite her future. But as she grapples with the ghosts of her past and the uncertainty of her present, Avery must decide whether to follow her heart or pursue her dream.



7 Responses to “REVIEW: The Last Phone Booth in Manhattan by Beth Merlin & Danielle Modafferi”

  1. Amy R

    Thanks for the review.
    QOTD: Have you ever used (or even seen!) a phone booth? Yes

  2. Glenda M

    Thanks so much for the review!
    As a matter of fact, I have both seen and used multiple phone booths – sadly, none had the magic the one in the book seems to have. 😉

  3. psu1493

    Sounds like a great story. Thank you for the review. Yes, I have seen/used a phone booth before.