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Attachments: Vicarious e-living leads to a real life

Rainbow Rowell's twentysomething IT security specialist intercepts a series of e-mails between two friends that encourage him to come out of his own shell.

Following a bad break-up from his high school sweetheart, Lincoln has been wallowing under his mother's roof for most of his 20s. He's had a nine-year break from socialising, during which time he's picked up multiple university degrees but hasn't had the confidence to meet anyone new.

To his credit, he finds a job, but it's a dicey one in IT security at a local newspaper. His mother disapproves of what it entails: trawling through the company's internal e-mail database looking for inappropriate messages. "It's not right. How can people express themselves in a place like that? Knowing someone's lurking in their thoughts?"

And lurk he does. Lincoln intercepts a series of e-mails between two friends that are of a personal nature, but rather than send them a warning, he becomes intrigued by their daily banter. Beth is in crisis over being an old maid (she's 28), and Jennifer shares her anxieties about having a baby. It sounds like every man's fantasy, doesn't it?

As Lincoln starts falling for Beth, he gains a new lust for life and you don't need to be Marian Keyes to guess where the plot is heading. But predictable though it may be, Attachments will make a pleasant alternative for fans of the aforementioned author.

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