Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes
By Ella Cheever Thayer
First published 1879
One of the things I love about writing historical fiction is that it’s an excellent excuse for tracking down mostly-forgotten texts written in the time period I’m writing about, and indulging myself by reading them while pretending I’m working.
Wired Love by Ella Cheever Thayer is an excellent example of that.
I’ve long been intrigued by the similarities between our times and the 1880s. Wired Love, which was published in 1879, points out another connection. The book tells the story of an early online romance conducted between telegraph operators. The relationship progresses much as you would expect it to if it were conducted using say, Match.com, today. Pitfalls are recognizable to anyone who’s used an online dating network, chat rooms, Twitter, instant messaging, social networking page, or email to strike up a new relationship (or friendship) with someone else online.
And that connection described in language that is clearly true to its time makes it (at least for me) a fun read.
While this book took a while for me to find when I was hunting it down several years ago (for a while it looked like I’d have to camp out in either the New York City or the Boston Public Library to read their reference copy), you won’t have to spend very long looking for it at all, thanks to Project Gutenberg, Google Books, and Mister Ron’s Basement.
(My goodness, online libraries have certainly improved since I first started hunting for this book.)