By The Book by Julia Sonneborn – a Review

By The Book by Julia Sonneborn – a Review


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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.




By the Book by Julia Sonneborn is a standalone novel that is a modern day retelling on Jane Austin’s ‘Persuasion’.  Anne Corey, our heroine, is a 32 year old English professor at Fairfax liberal arts college; who is also in the midst of writing a book.  During the storyline, we get to see many of the reject letters Anne receives from publishers, and it is important for her to sell her book to gain a permanent tenure with the school.    

Anne is shocked to learn that her ex-fiancé, Adam Martinez is now coming on board to the college as the new President.  She hasn’t seen Adam in 13 years, and it is at the reception for the new president that they come face to face.  Adam is very pleasant to Anne, but she does her best to welcome him to Fairfax, and keep her distance.  Anne meets Rick, a famous novelist, who has become a resident in the college in between his books.  Rick and Anne become friends, and eventually lovers.  Rick does not like Adam, having had a bad experience with him at another school.  He tells Anne all about the things Adam did, and Anne faithfully believes him.  But things are not as they seem.

When Anne’s father gets ill, it is Adam who will be around to help her, and a friendship resumes, though neither want anything more.  But when Rick is never around when she needs hi m, and Adam is, Anne will begin to open her eyes.  Rick turned out not to be what she thought, and his career takes a dive when truths are revealed about him.  

I thought all the characters in this book were all fun and relatable.  Anne was very well written by Sonneborn, and you couldn’t help but like her.  Her best friend at the college, Larry was a riot; and a good loyal friend to Anne.  Adam proved to be the right man for Anne, but it took almost to the end for both of them to reveal their true feelings. 

By the Book was a sweet story, based on similarities of Austen’s Persuasion.   I enjoyed the book, though it was a bit slow early on.   I would have liked to see more of Anne and Adam, as not much in the romantic sense was done.  Though I did love the ending, which  was very sweet. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher


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