BY THE BOOK by Jasmine Guillory

A Meant To Be Novel, Book 2

From the publisher:

Sometimes to truly know a person, you have to read between the lines.

Isabelle is completely lost. When she first began her career in publishing after college, she did not expect to be twenty-five, still living at home, and one of the few Black employees at her publishing house. Overworked and underpaid, constantly torn between speaking up or stifling herself, Izzy thinks there must be more to this publishing life. So when she overhears her boss complaining about a beastly high-profile author who has failed to deliver his long-awaited manuscript, Isabelle sees an opportunity to finally get the promotion she deserves.

All she has to do is go to the author’s Santa Barbara mansion and give him a pep talk or three. How hard could it be?.

But Izzy quickly finds out she is in over her head. Beau Towers is not some celebrity lightweight writing a tell-all memoir. He is jaded and withdrawn and―it turns out―just as lost as Izzy. But despite his standoffishness, Izzy needs Beau to deliver, and with her encouragement, his story begins to spill onto the page. They soon discover they have more in common than either of them expected, and as their deadline nears, Izzy and Beau begin to realize there may be something there that wasn’t there before.

Best-selling author Jasmine Guillory’s achingly romantic reimagining of a classic is a tale as old as time . . . for a new generation.

“Endearing….A sweet read.” Kirkus Reviews

This is the second book of a series, but in an interesting twist a different author, Julie Murphy, wrote the first book, If the Shoe Fits. That book was a modern day retelling of Cinderella; this books is the modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It’s a great premise for a series (see the Fairy Tale Series by Eloisa James for an historical retelling of these stories and more.)

Isabelle has always wanted to be a writer, but realistically, she takes a job in publishing. As a Black woman, she is definitely in the minority at work, a not uncommon phenomenon in the publishing industry. But she keeps her head down and works her butt off as an editorial assistant. One of her responsibilities is to stay on top of authors to make sure they meet their deadlines. Or as their million dollar child star author, Beau Towers, demonstrates, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by,” generally credited to Douglas Adams. Beau is so far past his deadline that they are inches away from giving up on the project.

Isabelle has been sending him reminder emails weekly with no response. Phone calls never get through, either. It’s gotten to the point where she is convinced no one is actually reading her emails; not the early earnest ones, and not the latest snarky ones. Not Beau, and not her boss who she copies on every email. When her boss takes Izzy to California for a book convention, Izzy gets the idea that she should go visit their reclusive author and maybe if she gives him a pep talk, in person, he will get writing.

Izzy arrives at his Santa Barbara estate and is shocked when he throws her out of his house. His assistant follows her out but slips and twists her ankle. Izzy helps her back inside and when Beau sees her, they have a bit of a showdown. He demands that she start giving him pep talks immediately.

Beau ends up asking her to stay for a few days, and she works hard at breaking through his tough shell. Those few days turn into a few weeks, and their relationship starts softening and growing as they get to know one another. Izzy still has to do all her regular work remotely, but Beau is the priority as she gets him to actually start writing.

I loved spending time with these characters and their snappy, often laugh out loud funny moments. The romance develops slowly, making that happy ending all the more heartfelt. This was a fun read, and I can’t help but wonder which author will be writing the next book in this series. I’m looking forward to it. And since the publisher is Disney, I can’t help but wonder if movies will be made!

6/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

BY THE BOOK by Jasmine Guillory. Hyperion Avenue (May 3, 2022). ISBN:‎ 978-1368053389. 320p.





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