ARC Review: By the Book by Julia Sonneborn


ByTheBookCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.


Genre: Contemporary Fiction with a romantic feel, Jane Austen retelling
Setting: Modern day Fairfax, in the San Bernadino foothills in California

***I received an eARC copy of By the Book from the publisher, Gallery Books, via NetGalley***

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Review: A sweet and enjoyable modern remake of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

By the Book by Julia Sonneborn modernizes Jane Austen’s classic tale of lost love, Persuasion, which just happens to be my favorite of Austen’s works. So I went into By the Book with a more critical eye, as I don’t always care for remakes, especially those based on Austen’s books. But, I really did enjoy By the Book and thought it was fun and sweet. Nothing too tremendously earth shattering, but worth a read.

By the Book is set in the small city and college of Fairfax, and our main character is Anne Corey who is an English professor working on a book when her ex-fiance Adam Martinez becomes the president of the college and returns back into her life. You can see where the plot goes from here, and while there was really nothing new explored here, it was still enjoyable!

Anne’s best friend is a fellow English professor named Larry, and Larry gives us most of the comedic scenes in the book. He ends up having an affair with Jack, a married actor with an open marriage who is trying to hit it big in the movie Jane Vampire, a vampire take on Jane Eyre. Some of these scenes were pretty funny, but I admit that it took me almost half the book before I started to find Larry funny and not like he was acting too young for his age.

Anne gets distracted by Richard, the resident writer at Fairfax, and Richard was one of those annoying characters who just seems too perfect to be true. I’m always distrustful of these types of characters! While none of the plotting here will come as any surprise to anyone who has ever read Persuasion, or any romance novel, the nice thing about By the Book is that I genuinely wanted Anne to be happy. I wanted her to find love, and of course I wanted it to be with Adam. The ex-love returning back into one’s life is one of my very favorite tropes out there, and I enjoyed this modern take on Persuasion. I’d definitely recommend it to those who enjoy modern versions of classic tales, and for those looking for a sweet, cute read that doesn’t bog you down with sadness.

Bottom Line: Sweet and romantic. An enjoyable read!

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Author Website

Do you enjoy reading Jane Austen retellings? Which is your favorite? Does By the Book sound like a book you’ll be reading?


4 thoughts on “ARC Review: By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

    1. I like it because usually they both have changed in some way, but they are still compatible and able to fall back in love with each other. But yeah, I wish it were a little more surprising and not a given.


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