by the book
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Book Review: By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

I received By the Book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review, because I do these reviews for love of books.  This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. If you like this post, do me a solid and buy your book from Amazon via my link.

If you are looking for a read perfect for curling up with in the bright summer sunshine (or inside, escaping the heat), Julia Sonneborn’s By The Book is just the title for you. Ditto if you are a fan of Jane Austen, as this is a light retelling of her classic, Persuasion. Read on to find out what I loved about it!

Book Review: By the Book by Julia SonnebornBy The Book by Julia Sonneborn
Published by Gallery Books on February 6, 2018
Genres: Women's Fiction, Romance, Fiction
Pages: 362
Buy on Amazon

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.


If you’re a lover of Jane Austen, you’re in for a treat. (And if you’ve never read Austen – first, don’t tell me, and second, you don’t need to have read her to enjoy this.) Julia Sonneborn offers up a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, as well as a bit of an homage to Austen in her main character, College English Professor Anne Corey.  Anne, who herself is a fan of Austen is under pressure to finish her own book, which she needs to publish in order to nail down her tenure, while dealing with her father and his health (which is work on its own). In the middle of all this, her ex-fiancé Adam turns up as the new college president – and they parted in less than amicable terms, it seems.

Of course, she will run into Adam over and again, and put herself in plenty of awkward situations as we slowly learn the nature of her breakup – which makes her a lot more human and exposes a few flaws. Of course, the handsome and charming visiting writer-in-residence with whom a relationship is blooming cannot stand Adam, for reasons to be discovered.  There is plenty of humor and awkwardness, and angst, of course, in true Austen fashion.

Another wonderful relationship in the story is the one between Anne and her friend Larry – he is a bit of a cliché as the gay college professor, but their interactions are priceless and made me laugh.  The writing and the setting in By The Book remind me of Lian Dolan’s Elizabeth the First (another delightful read about a college professor.)

This was indeed a story of second chances. Overall, By the Book is a wonderful light and entertaining read, perfect for the beach. What a delight!

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