In Jasmine Guillory’s By the Book, Isabelle landed her dream job as an editorial assistant at Tale As Old As Time (TAOAT) right after college. But at 25, she’s still living at home, and on top of being the only Black employee at TAOAT, she has not been promoted. Izzy has almost given up on her provincial life in publishing when she overhears her boss complaining about a brutish author who is long overdue on turning in his manuscript.
Izzy jumps on this opportunity to prove herself worthy of a promotion and volunteers to work with this beastly author and get him to turn in a manuscript. What Izzy wasn’t expecting was to be stuck in his house, full of charm in its off-limits areas, all while possibly falling in love with this misunderstood author.
Fans of Beauty and the Beast, or any fairy tale, really: Do yourself the favor and pick up this book.
A tale as old as time… or is it?
Look no further for a romance title that delivers on (light) steam, realistic conflicts between the main characters, and a happy ending. This is the Beauty and the Beast retelling I didn’t know I needed, and it should not go another day without being added to your TBR (to be read) list. This fairy tale came to life and resonated with me because it was written by an author who clearly understands conflict resolution and healthy communication in relationships.
[slight spoiler in the next sentence]
The apology that is given in this book is genuine, with no hints of gaslighting or deflection by the one owning up to their mistake.
The way that Guillory interweaves classic images and scenes from Beauty and the Beast into this novel made the read funny, light-hearted, and enjoyable. From overt nods to the fairytale-like, funny reality show called This Provincial Life to a book event for Then Somebody Bends to more covert references like forbidden towers, enchantments, and characters, this retelling has everything you could want for a modern-day romance. Beau’s storyline and character development had me intrigued from the outset because I wasn’t sure how a “Beast” character could be relatable or loveable today, but boy was I wrong! I appreciate how Izzy, while slightly unsure of herself at some points, remains confident and determined throughout the novel. This dynamic duo was able to grow professionally and personally while becoming the best versions of themselves, all while in a healthy relationship.
I cannot thank Guillory enough for this enjoyable work of fiction that includes healthy conflict resolution, clear communication between characters, and a heart-warming romance.