Book Review, Chick Lit, Comedy, Contemporary, Gallery Books, NetGalley, Romance, Women's Fiction

By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

“You know how people start to look a lot like their dogs? Well, professors start to look a lot like their subjects.”

Professor Anne Corey normally looks forward to starting the new academic year, but this year is different.  She’s been desperately trying to find a publisher for her book so she can keep her job at Fairfax College, a small liberal arts college in the San Bernardino valley, but the rejection letters are coming fast and furious.  Her dad has dementia and her sister has decided that he is better off in a care facility near Anne, and this is the man who cut her off when she decided to become a professor of English Literature instead of his choice as a lawyer.  Last of all, she found out that Adam Martinez, her first boyfriend, her one true love, is the new president at Fairfax.   She has worked hard to be where she is today.  Will these new developments be her undoing?

I have worked in an academic community for 30+ years so the academic aspect of the book, as well as the romance in it, intrigued me.  The academic settings and situations were right on, but the romance was slow and drawn out to where I was losing interest by the end.  Anne’s character was well constructed, but I could not connect with her annoying naiveté at the ripe old age of 33, and Adam’s character construction was vague and could have been developed a bit more.  The only character I did like was Larry, Anne’s gay colleague.  Though he was childish, he was loyal to Anne, and his witty quips were laugh-out-loud funny.  A slow read, but with humorous dialogue and a great view of academic life.

Thank you to Ms. Sonneborn, Gallery Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.


Amazon US | Amazon UK 


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.


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