Romance readers will love “By the Book”


Madison Aboud

Tale as old as time. “By the Book” is a “Beauty and the Beast” modern day retelling.

As a reader, I do my best to read a wide variety of genres. However, if there is one genre I always go back to, it’s romance. 

I’ve read my fair share of romance novels. Colleen Hoover, Elle Kennedy, the list goes on.  Many romances and rom-coms have stuck with me, and some haven’t. “By the Book” is one that has stayed with me. 

“By the Book” by Jasmine Guillory, is a “Beauty and the Beast” modern retelling. 

Isabelle works in publishing. For a while, it is her dream job. Reading books, helping authors, working with other people. It seems like a dream come true. Until she realizes authors love having breakdowns. Bosses can be cruel and hard-hearted. And, some authors just don’t want to answer emails. Beau Towers, for example, just won’t answer an email or write a memoir. 

Isabelle is tired of having to try and not get a thing out of anyone. One day, while in California for a conference, Isabelle goes to talk to Towers. In person. 

Isabelle isn’t sure what she expected, but Towers is nothing but sarcastic, witty and mean. Still, she agrees to stay to help him write his book. 

Along the way, Isabelle discovers there is more to Towers than what she thought. Co-workers turn to friends. Friends might just turn into lovers. 

I have thought a lot about why this book has stayed with me. Now, I think I have finally figured it out. 

Isabelle and I are very similar. On the outside, we can appear exciting and happy and positive, but on the inside, we definitely aren’t always feeling that way. I can’t relate to Isabelle in some aspects but as a woman I can. 

Due to the field she is in, being of color and being a female, Isabelle feels trapped. She wants to speak her mind, but fears by speaking she is risking everything. I speak my mind often, especially when I shouldn’t, but I do it anyway. 

Women fear speaking up in certain places due to feeling inferior. I’ve been there. Seeing Isabelle go through the same thing made me feel like I was understood. 

Towers has a lot of trauma he doesn’t like to show. Even though he is a celebrity, he isn’t any different from anyone else. It makes him a compelling character because we don’t always see the pain male characters go through. It sometimes is hidden because they want the character to appear strong and not show that they have weaknesses. 

Maybe that is why I love “By the Book.” The characters aren’t perfect. They are flawed and messy and human. I don’t always see that in books, let alone romances. After all, romances are always meant to be perfect. 

Overall, I adored “By the Book.” From the characters, to the romance, to the plot, it gives readers an honest and flawed love story.