By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

Setting: California
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Author: Julia Sonneborn
Release Date: February 6, 2018

Time to reveal a secret. I'm not a Jane Austin fan. By the Book is touted as a "retelling of Persuasion." I haven't read it. I've tried. I've tried many of Austin's books and just can't find the appeal. Keeping that in mind, I really have no basis to compare the two. I dove in without any expectations.

Anne Corey is an English professor. She wants to become tenured, but to do so she must finish and get her book published. She has her friend, Larry, to help keep her sane. This proves to be especially important when the college's new dean turns out to be her ex-fiance.

As if it's not hard enough being this close to her ex, there's a new employee at the college who has his eyes set on Anne. She's just as taken by him, even if her ex keeps trying to warn her off. Anne is strong, determined, and wants to do what makes her happy. Teaching is what makes her happy, and that means she needs to complete her book.

There are touches of romance in this novel, but the bulk of the book is on Anne's quest to do what makes her happiest. There are other struggles along the way. Her father's health is changing, and she and her sister also have to balance his care with their lives. I sympathized with that aspect. I know what it's like.

The basis of this book is about one woman's strength and that a man does not have to define who she is. She's just fine on her own. I liked that message and loved that Anne was such a tough cookie. Along the way, you'll learn why she ended her relationship years ago and see where she goes from here.

I did find that there were slow parts, but my enjoyment of Anne's character kept me reading. It's a lighthearted story that was perfect for staying in during the latest snowstorm to hit my area. Definitely, give By the Book a try.


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