An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.
Anne Corey is about to get schooled.
An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.
Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.
Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past…and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.
By the Book is a love letter to books and a love letter to book lovers. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Julia Sonneborn examines regret and the things we would do for love if given a second chance.
Full disclosure: I have never read Persuasion. I know, I know, stop yelling at me about it! I agree with you – it is absolutely shameful. For whatever reason, Persuasion is the only Austen that I have yet to read. But, I promise to read it within the next year. Yes, yes, I pinky swear it. There – are you happy now? Great, let’s move on.
Julia Sonneborn does something extraordinarily well in By the Book – she creates vivid secondary characters with fantastic backstories. All hail professor Larry and his huge poster of Keanu Reeves in his office! Some of the characters and the scenes just leapt off the page, pulling me into their world. Even though this book is fiction, you can feel the reality of Sonneborn’s true life experiences from working in academia influencing her writing.
The only complaint I had about the book was the pacing. Overall, for the majority of the book, the plot moves at a steady beat, pulling you further into the story, playing the cat cat and mouse game of “will they or won’t they.” However, about three-quarters of the way into the book, it feels as though the author was told to wrap up this delightful story ASAP, and we are rushed towards the ending. There is so much action in the last quarter of the book, but it lost some of its emotional weight just because of the rushed pacing.
Overall, By the Book was a light and enjoyable read. Fans of Austen will enjoy this modern Persuasion retelling. If you are looking for a good Valentine’s Day read, look no further!
Thank you NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Titles: By the Book
Publisher: Gallery Books (February 6, 2018)
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Read… on my kindle while… reminiscing on my own liberal arts college experiences.
Purchase your copy here.
Author: Julia Sonneborn