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By the Book

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  3,831 ratings  ·  857 reviews
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 t
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Gallery Books
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Aqlima The story is set in 2016. Anne and Adam meet 13 years after Anne returns the ring. The envelope containing the ring is dated 2003.

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By the Book by Julia Sonneborn is a 2018 Gallery Books publication.

A splendid, modern day version of Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’.

Anne Corey is trying to make tenure, write a book, and care for her father, with whom she has a tenuous relationship. All this is enough to keep Anne occupied, along with the exploits of her best friend, Larry. But, life throws Anne another unexpected curve ball when she learns her former fiancé, Adam, has been named president of her college!!

Despite the awkwardness o
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Jane Austen's Persuasion is rather loosely translated into a light contemporary romance, set among the faculty of Fairfax, a small California liberal arts college. Anne Corey, a 32 year old English professor trying to get tenure, has to deal with Adam Martinez, her ex-fiancé from over ten years ago, becoming the president of the college. Rather than having one good heart-to-heart talk with him, (view spoiler)she avoid ...more
Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)

Super cute and fun for a summer book club read! The paperback contains book club discussion questions at the end too.

By the Book is about college professor, Anne Corey, who while working towards tenure learns that her new university president is her ex-fiance from a decade ago. Of course he is successful and looking dreamy as ever while Anne is still working towards job security and can't even pay her overdue library fees. Oh, and there is also a handsome, charming new professor who is wooing An
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
As I get older, I have come to love Jane Austen's Persuasion more and more. It is the book of her adulthood and the Autumn of her life, as she died much too young at 41. Just think of the works stolen from us if she had lived to be old.
By the Book is a modern update of the classic book. It is well written and engaging and succeeds in paying homage to Persuasion, love of books and learning. It is a modern love story with a heroine whose life hasn't turned out well. She is stuck, in her early thir
Geri Reads
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
By the Book is a loose, modern retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen, and for the most part, I enjoyed it quite a lot.

There were a lot of insights into professorship tenure track which I find really interesting. I really liked Anne, the heroine. She's a struggling professor who just want to get tenure at the liberal college she teaches at and pay off her college loans. The problem was the path to tenureship isn't as easy as Anne would've liked to be.

For one, she needs to be published before t
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Persuasion is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels and I am always ready to jump on board a re-telling. Unfortunately, By the Book did not really live up to my expectations.

One thing that I thought was really odd for a re-telling is that the main character, Anne, is a college lit professor and teaches on authors such as Jane Austen. Also, Anne’s favorite book is Persuasion. I have never seen the actual source material
Chris  C - A Midlife Wife
What a refreshing story!
I have to admit I have never been one to read many of the classics. I know that’s a horrible thing to say. Other than what has been assigned in school, which I probably wouldn’t remember anyway, I am not one to delve into the flowery romance and poetic writings from the Masters.

So the fact that the story is based on a classic really didn’t matter to me. What does matter to me is what this author brings to the table. How the story makes me feel during t
Jaime Arkin
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
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 / 5

My reviews and (maybe) some other random thoughts can also be seen at


After a highly disappointing read (The Beloveds), I was THRILLED to read By the Book. It made me laugh out loud so much, and it was just generally a very feel-good, entertaining story. And of course, I am completely obsessed with the cover. It is so bloody gorgeous!

A modern retelling of Jane Austen's Persusión, By
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
By the Book by Julia Sonneborn is an absolute delight to read!

A modern re-telling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, By the Book follows the life of Anne Corey, English Literature professor at a local college. Anne is trying to get her book published so she can secure tenure when she finds out the new president of the college is none other than he ex-fiancee from 10 years; the devastatingly handsome Adam Martinez. She is also dealing with an overbearing sister and a father in a nursing home. Her best
☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
 I LOVED this loosely based modern take on Jane Austen’s Persuasion. This was a sweet and fun second chance novel that made me smile. I really liked the characters especially gay best friend and side kick, Larry! This story even gave me a happy tear at the ending! I recommend this book for anyone who likes a great women’s lit novel and second chance romance!

Jane Austen's PERSUASION retelling? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP.


DNF at 20%

It's just...........boring. Anne's voice kinda annoyed me. & I can't get into the writing.

Life for a single, nontenured English professor on a college campus becomes complicated when her ex-fiance' becomes her boss, her dad's health takes a turn for the worse, she needs to get her book published or lose her job, and a dashing writer is giving her smoldering eyes and offers to help her with her book.

Incidentally, this is also a loose modern retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. But, never fear if you are unfamiliar, By the Book can be enjoyed by any sweet contemporary romance or wom
Dec 15, 2018 rated it liked it
[3+] By the Book is a light, entertaining Persuasion spinoff set at a small liberal arts college. Just right for my mood today.
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Super cute retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. I liked how the family in Persuasion was adapted. Loved the bits of humor. I did find myself rolling my eyes at a few parts, and Anne herself was super naive, but overall it was a fun read.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ha! This turned out to be a really enjoyable book!! So glad I picked it.
It has all the right things: some references to the serious literature (and they are not this tediously overwhelming passages that's you spent half an hour re-reading each fifty times to figure out what the hell it meant), it has a very real life resembling situations, but not going to deep dragging the lot into one sappy smudge. It has a bit of family affairs, a bit of friendship and a bit of love story.
The characters and t
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a delight to read and a great break from all the murder and mayhem I normally read. “By the Book” is a modern day retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Our heroine, Anne Corey is an English professor in California, and she is one hot mess. Except, when she is in her classroom teaching. And I enjoyed her character so much! She was just so normal (and really what is normal?) and so gloriously flawed. Right from the beginning you understand Anne is on a mission to get published so sh ...more
Elizabeth Camden
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. Set on a college campus with an English-professor heroine and college president hero. Oh my....don't tell #MeToo. This book breaks all the rules! I still thoroughly enjoyed it. No graphic sex, but the heroine gets around and its written for a mainstream audience, not inspirational. This was a debut book and the author appears to have gone MIA. Come back! Write another novel! We need more well-crafted contemporary romances. ...more
J. W. Garrett
“…I have loved none but you.” –Jane Austen, Persuasion

Modern retelling of Austen’s classic Persuasion. Rating PG->18: mild language, sex scenes between consenting adults, discussion of adult themes and sexual orientation.

This story is completely a stand-a-lone. It could easily be read without knowing anything about Austen’s Persuasion. In fact, there were times when I found it hard to follow because I was trying to make it fit my concept of the Persuasion time-line. I knew what needed to happen
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Wasnt up to my many many ws so annoying that i got to 80 percent and decided to ditch it...i couldnt handle it anymore. I dont even knw where the story is was jst all over the place

Victoria (RedsCat)
I adore a good re-telling of a classic or fairy tale, and this is a top notch adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. The setting is a small liberal arts campus in a California town and the setting couldn’t be more perfect. The characters are a little quirky but never ridiculous. Main character Anne must deal with some big shocks, including feelings about her ex-fiancé, while her best friend Larry gives us some comic relief. Whether you’ve read the original or not, this novel has enough tension ...more
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Maybe I am still in the swooning phase of Persuasion so I’m going to need just a few minutes to process my thoughts on this modern day retelling.

Maybe because I haven’t read any before I’m having a little time finding my comfy space.

By the Book’s main character Anne Corey is similar to beloved Anne Elliot (Persuasion) in that her first and only true love (Adam) is back in her life after 13 years, he’s the new President at the liberal arts college she’s currently a professor at in Fairfax. Anne
Susan's Reviews
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
An engrossing tale loosely based on Jane Austen's Persuasion (my favourite Austen novel!)

Anne and Adam - what a pair of star crossed lovers! Rick, that romping liar, took poor Anne on a wild goose chase, but in the end, as in the original story that By the Book is based on, true love prevails. My only criticism is that Anne does a fair amount of emotional hopping about. Modern love for modern times, I suppose.

A great read set in the land of academia.
Samantha (WLABB)
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Disclosure: This is a retelling of Persuasion, which I have never read. Therefore, I have no opinions about how well Sonneborn pulled off re-doing Jane Austen. I can tell you, that I found this book very delightful, and I shed my signature "happy tears" over the ending.

When I first read the synopsis for this book, I thought I was signing on for a second chance romance, but really, this was more women's lit to me, because the focus was so solidly on Anne coming to terms with her past decisions a
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite liked this! Apparently it's a "modern retelling" of Persuasion but I'm not an avid reader of classics so I'm not sure where the stories overlapped but enjoyed Sonneborn's regardless.

The main character, Dr. Anne Corey, is a professor of classic literature at Fairfax College in California, and her favorite novel is Persuasion, in fact her ex-fiancé had proposed to her by hiding the ring in the book. And then *SURPRISE* 10 years later Anne is startled to hear the news that the college's new p
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a Janeite and a Persuasion lover I may be a bit biased, but I LOVED it!

I gobbled this book up. I enjoy books whose settings are boarding schools and universities. Anne Corey is the modern Anne and Adam Martinez is the Mr. Wentworth. Anne is a Professor who needs to publish a book for tenure and discovers her college boyfriend (she turned down his proposal) is the new President of her University.

Anne is very naive, irritating and comes across as having low self esteem. In 'Persuasion' by J
This book was a delight and an absolute joy to read! This modern retelling of Persuasion was so wonderful to me because it was so perfectly adapted to a contemporary setting. The storyline and main characters were recognizable to readers familiar with Persuasion without this being simply a retelling dressed in a modern wardrobe. The situations and characters were believable and relatable, which helped make this so enjoyable.

This book is so well written that it is effortless to read, and it is
Chris Conley
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This is a terrific book. As a former English major, I found the world of college literature classes and literature, in general, so lovely. Anne Corey is a delightfully flawed heroine.
Lisa Wolf
Hmm. I tore through By the Book, and definitely had a good time while I was reading it. At the same time, for a book being billed as a retelling of Persuasion, it's pretty loose when it comes to making the plot stick.

Anne spends much of the book in a relationship with a smarmy writer who drops lines about being on the front lines in Fallujah and his battle-related PTSD, but it's just so clear from the get-go that he's a con artist and a fraud. When Adam makes a comment to Anne about Rick's shady
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I have not read Jane Austen, so the comparisons are lost on me. But I truly enjoyed this book. Anne was a wonderful character, filled with humor, intelligence and flaws. While I was pretty sure we were going to end up exactly where we did, the trip itself was fun. The characters were all well developed and interesting, my favorite being Anne's BFF Larry. So funny, I could hear him talking in my head! I learned a lot about the literary world, college, and teaching. Fast paced, contemporary, and f ...more
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Bookish First Rea...: By the Book by Julia Sonneborn 1 2 Oct 22, 2019 09:38AM  

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Julia Sonneborn is an English professor and a Los Angeles native. After heading east for college and graduate school, she hightailed it back to California, where she now lives with her husband, two kids, two cats, and a dog. When she’s not reading, writing, or talking about books, she enjoys trying new restaurants, reading online gossip blogs, and throwing dinner parties. She is the author of By t ...more

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