Book 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.
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. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
I received a copy of By The Book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
I loved the cover of By The Book because it looks quaint like a small out of the way town. I also love Jane Austen’s books and was interested to see how Sonneborn handled a retelling of Persuasion.
Though it wasn’t really part of the retelling, I liked the relationships of Anne with her father, who is ill and dying, and her disconnected sister. Anne showed the greatest depth of character working through her guilt when her father passed away. She was filled with self-doubt while realizing how much her father adored her. He wasn’t one to talk through his feelings, and so it wasn’t until his passing that she learned some essential truths of his life.
Initially I liked Anne’s relationship with her friend, Larry. Once Larry became involved with a married man, he became whinny and a train wreck. Anne didn’t blink once over Larry being involved with a married man, when she was even loosely friends with the lover’s wife. This story line turned my stomach because they had no moral compass of right and wrong. I also never understood why Anne didn’t see that Rick was slimy from the beginning. The characters were generally one-dimensional. It was a fast read and had a couple of fun moments, like when Anne walks into a swanky event in a new red dress. She had eaten french fries on the way covering herself with napkins.
The quality of writing was decent and I’ve placed the stars about in the middle. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. All sex scenes are off page. There is a little cursing, including some F-bombs, an unfortunate thing common in modern writing when there isn’t a need.
3 out of 5 stars
Other books I recommend for a period romance include An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aiden (Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view) and Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede (a Regency romance with magic thrown in the mix).