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.
I’m so torn on this book because 1. That cover is absolutely what made me download it and isn’t it adorable and 2. Second chance love stories are my jam… this one just fell kind of short for a couple of reasons.
This is touted as a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion… which to be honest (and don’t yell at me, I’ve admitted this before) I have never read. Classics really aren’t my thing and I can’t pinpoint why, but I’ll read retellings for days. In By The Book, Anne Corey is an English professor looking for tenure and a permanent placement at a college she loves. All she has to do is write a book and get it sold. When the school year starts and she’s at a reception to meet the new President, she’s blindsided by the fact that it’s none other than her former fiancé and first love, Adam.
I really enjoyed Anne as a character… struggling to make ends meet, struggling to build a meaningful relationship with her sister, struggling to wrangle her ailing father. She was relatable and I felt for her struggles.
That said, this story was portrayed as a romance… and I guess it was, just not between the two characters I was expecting. Anne connects very early on in the story with the writer in residence, Rick, who doesn’t like Adam and vice-versa, so a lot of the interactions between Anne and Adam are tense and uncomfortable. Plus there’s the whole history of their relationship between them that neither have broached to clear the air.
Additionally I felt that Rick’s character was a big cliché and ugh so predictable. I knew from the get go that he really wasn’t the person we’re supposed to believe him to be and I struggled to understand why Anne didn’t see it.
There’s this whole side story between Anne’s best friend Larry and another character that I thought was weirdly included too… I don’t know, it just didn’t work for me.
So here’s the kicker that really had me frustrated… and it might be considered a spoiler so read with caution. For the majority of the book we get brief interactions between Adam and Anne, but at no point was there enough of them talking, connecting, rebuilding enough to warrant the ending that this story threw at me. It was completely unbelievable to me and I feel like I needed a bit more of a reconnection in order to make it work for me.
Overall, a cute read, but with some clichéd characters and a rushed ending this one just didn’t completely work for me.
Thank you to the publisher for an early copy for my thoughts.