Turning The Pages: ‘By The Book’ by Julia Sonneborn

You know that we love a good book and we love a good book cover. When we got BY THE BOOK in the mail, to be honest with you – we fell in love with the cover. The simplicity, the beauty, the romantic element of it all. But not going to lie, we were a little afraid to read it.


Well it’s not that we don’t respect the big critics – we do. But normally if Kirkus, Booklist, and RT Book Reviews are all praising a book, we’re cringing a little bit internally. It normally means that we won’t like it too much and we know a lot of you have felt that way too.

We want a book that touches our hearts. We want a book that makes us think twice about life. We want a book that gives us heart and makes our hearts swoon and break and in the end we find a way to put ourselves back together.

BY THE BOOK is a take on Persuasion, which is one of our favorite Jane Austen stories. Who doesn’t love a good retelling?

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. 

Now, to be honest, BY THE BOOK, had positive and negative points to it. The thing is, it’s a great contemporary read and we loved it. We just had to journey through a few luls to get to the point where we could end with a happy point.

The book was romantic, painful, and the subplots in the book were weaved in beautifully. The retelling made us think twice about the original. What do I mean by that? Love the Jane Austen classic, so when we read this one – it made us have a new appreciation for the beauty of the classic, but also an appreciation that the retelling made us think about things in a way that we could relate to.

And hey, we have a new appreciation for our professors.

But what we loved the most about this book, was that it gave us hope. It broke our hearts in ways that we didn’t expect, but it gave us hope that no matter what happens, no matter how life breaks us, we can find our way through it.

We think that Sonnenborn was able to make a classic relatable and easy to follow. She writes relatable characters that we couldn’t put down.

Is it a masterpiece? No and we view all of Jane Austen’s books as a masterpiece. But, it’s fun, an easy read, and one that we thoroughly enjoyed.

For once we can agree with Kirkus and Booklist on a review.

BY THE BOOK is available now.

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