Love on a Wire
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Pages: 30
Goes Well With: Takeout from the Japanese place down the street

For the past three years—ever since her too-gorgeous-for-words husband, Phillip, left her for his secretary—Casey has lived a lonely and monotonous life. Each day, she goes to work, stuffing envelopes for a non-profit organization. Each night, she sits at home alone, with only a glass of wine and a book to keep her company.

One night, when Casey logs in to check her email, she’s thrilled to find a message from her aunt. Casey’s aunt and uncle are the only family she has left—but, unfortunately, they’re living in Japan, where Casey’s uncle has been working.

In her message, Casey’s aunt mentions a nice (and, of course, single) man named Daniel—an obvious attempt at a set-up. But Casey’s got nothing better to do, so, out of loneliness and boredom, she sends him a note. The two soon begin writing each other every day—and Casey fears that she might be falling in love with a man she’s never met, who lives thousands of miles away. What if he only wants to be friends?

Whether it’s through some kind of Internet dating service or through long-distance emails, more and more people are falling in love online—so Love on a Wire is a believable love story. In fact, at times it feels completely natural—though, at just 30 pages long, it does feel somewhat rushed.

Barrett builds the story around a pair of familiar characters: the lonely divorcee and the shy but brilliant man who gets nervous around women. Sure, they’re a bit cliché, but that just means that readers already know the characters—so they can get by without too much character development.

As for the story, the set-up feels a bit awkward and unnatural, and the conflict feels forced. But the moments in between are sweet and often warm and romantic. Maybe it’s just because I once had a long-distance email relationship—one that eventually led to marriage—but I could understand the characters’ apprehension as they got to know one another, always worrying that they were writing things the wrong way or imagining feelings that weren’t really there.

Love on a Wire does have its share of flaws. The dialogue is occasionally a bit stilted, and the details are sometimes inaccurate (for instance, if it’s late at night in the States, it’s definitely not four in the morning in Japan). Still, the warmth and romance are there. So if you can get past some of the awkward moments, Love on a Wire makes a short but sweet lunchtime read.

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