by Rainbow Rowell
Published: 2nd February 2012
It’s 1999 and the internet is still a novelty. At a newspaper office, two colleagues, Beth and Jennifer, e-mail back and forth, discussing their lives in hilarious detail, from love troubles to family dramas. And Lincoln, a shy IT guy responsible for monitoring e-mails, spends his hours reading every exchange.
At first their e-mails offer a welcome diversion, but the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realises just how head-over-heels he is, it’s too late to introduce himself.
After a series of close encounters, Lincoln eventually decides he must follow his heart… and find out if there is such a thing as love before first sight.
I picked this book up when I saw it on a table in Waterstones, and I fell in love with the blurb. I was really in the mood for a contemporary romance, and this book was exactly what I was looking for.
This book isn’t action packed, it’s much more of a character driven, light read. I found this a welcome change from all of the darker reads I’ve read lately. At first, I thought I’d think the plot was too slow but the characters are what bring this book to life. I loved every single character in this book, and I wasn’t wishing for a plot filled with explosive drama. I wanted to sit and get to know these characters and their relationships.
After reading the blurb, I was hoping it would be a little like You’ve Got Mail (the 1998 film starring Meg Ryan, and Tom Hanks – one of my favourites). I loved reading the email conversations between Jennifer and Beth, and instantly feel in love with the characters. Their relationship was the biggest reason I loved this book as much as I did. The banter between them was hilarious, and I don’t think I’ve laughed so much whilst reading a book, ever! The dialogue was witty, quick, and extremely real. I felt like I’d known them for years. I really related to the characters, and it reminded me of my friend Laura, and how we speak to each other.
I absolutely loved Lincoln. Granted, at first, I thought Lincoln was a little creepy, as he’s obsessing over strangers emails, but, I quickly got over that and fell in love with his character. I loved reading everything about him: his past, about his family and friends, and about his interesting job. His job in particular, reading the flagged emails of his colleagues in the building. It felt like being a fly on the wall.
I enjoyed the structure of the book, and that it was set in 1999 with the threat of the millennium bug. I don’t normally mention the cover but I loved that this one refllected the time it was set. In terms of the structure, the book alternated between emails from Jennifer and Beth, and their relationships, and then chapters about Lincoln. It all wove together beautifully to create this tapestry of relationships, past and present.
Even though the plot isn’t necessarily action packed, I still found this book to be a page turner, as I was desperate to find out what would happen to these characters. I loved how the book ended, and it left me wanting to read a sequel, so I can continue to have these characters in my life.
If you liked the film You’ve Got Mail, this book is for you. If you like a good romantic, quirky, hilarious read, this book is definitely for you. In fact, just everyone should read this book!
If you’d like to grab yourself a copy: Amazon link