By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

Since I never read PERSUASION by Jane Austen, all the details imagined by Julia Sonneborn in BY THE BOOK were viewed on their own originality. I did know the classic story was about having another chance at love after a relationship between two people did not previously work out, and the modern version gives the couple a large number of hurdles to overcome before they can ever be together again. BY THE BOOK has challenging emotional issues, unexpected humor, and characters whose personalities delight.

To continue being an instructor at Fairfax College, professor Anne Corey has tried to show she is qualified to teach her English courses. But if she fails to get a contract by the end of the semester for a book that she is writing, then she can lose her position at the small California college. Anne has high hopes of completing this goal before her time is up, that is until she discovers the identity of the new president where she is employed.

It has been many years since she saw Adam Martinez, her former boyfriend to whom she was engaged. They broke up right before graduating, and there has been no more long-term relationships in her life. With her concentration needing to be focused on her book, Anne plans to ignore the way she is still affected by the man whom she once loved. Yet keeping her thoughts on class instructions and writing are very difficult whenever Adam is around.

Whether a problem for Anne was in her professional life or if the incident was a personal concern, I thought her troubles could actually happen as explained. Her elderly father is not able to look after himself anymore, so it is up to his two daughters to decide what is best for him. This is certainly a genuine dilemma for many families, and the reactions of everyone are very honest. Anne’s need to finish her book put lots of pressure on her, and it influenced some of her responses to people and events. When it comes to her romantic life, she had made choices based on what she believed was best for a particular set of circumstances, yet sadly these decisions had not led to lasting happiness, as often books are her only companion. She and Adam thought things were perfect when they were younger until things changed. Now both must examine how they want their futures to turn out. BY THE BOOK constantly has feelings being depicted with much candidness and frank sincerity. While I did not always agree with everything she chose to do, people definitely do not come to the most favorable conclusion all the time.

The personalities of the characters in the book greatly vary, and I was especially thrilled when Anne’s friend Larry was featured, as he would say exactly what he thought. There are some text messages sent throughout the story, and the comical remarks in some of them caused plenty of laughter. Julia Sonneborn has created a compelling novel where likable individuals must face life-changing obstacles.

I voluntarily reviewed the book from the publisher, and all comments are my honest opinion

Publisher:  Gallery

Releases:  February 6, 2018


Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:

Rating:  4 Stars

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