REVIEW: BY THE BOOK, BY JULIA SONNEBORN

 

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.

 

My Thoughts: This retelling of Austen’s Persuasion intrigued me from the beginning pages. I haven’t read the Austen book—that’s on my bucket list—but it is not necessary to have done so to enjoy By the Book.

Anne Corey is a bookish and delightful English professor who is hoping to finally earn a tenured position but must publish a book before that can happen. She has been working on it for a while, but so far, she has not been offered a publishing contract. Her days are spent teaching her classes; she hangs out with an old friend, Larry Fellor, another English professor; and locks herself away nights and weekends to work on her book.

The news that her college fiancé, Adam Martinez, has been hired as the new president of the college has catapulted her back in time, remembering their relationship and what happened to break them apart.

Meanwhile, Anne allows herself to begin a casual relationship with Rick Chasen, who has been added to the staff as a writer-in-residence. He pursues her, encourages her in her writing, and she thinks their relationship may help her finally get over Adam.

What happens next is stunning and changes everything Anne thought she knew about herself and about each of the men with whom she has been involved.

I enjoyed the feeling of being a part of the academic world with the characters. I also felt like I was sauntering along with them on the campus, entering the beautiful rooms that the author showed us, and finally, becoming part of their experiences. We had a vested interest in how their lives unfolded. Therefore, I was pleased with the ending, even though it was somewhat predictable, because it felt like the events were happening to old friends. 4 stars.***

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