Looking for a modern Beauty and the Beast retelling? Check out the latest romance book release in Disney’s Meant to Be series from Jasmine Guillory: By the Book.
I share my thoughts on this forced proximity love story in my book review below.
*Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon Affiliates program so if you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
When she first began her career in publishing, Isabelle did not expect to be twenty-five, living at home, still an editorial assistant, and the only Black employee at her publishing house.
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.
But Izzy quickly finds out she is in over her head. Beau Towers is jaded and withdrawn and—it turns out—just as lost as Izzy.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.
When I heard that Disney Publishing was launching the Meant to Be series that would reimagine Disney’s princess stories as modern, adult romance books, I was so excited. What a great idea.
Plus this romance book made my Most Anticipated Romance Books of 2022 list so I was eager to dive right in.
Though after reading By the Book, I should have realized that with Disney as the backer, that this book would be a super clean romance and one that had this air of everything being sunshine and roses.
The book had a really great start.
I adored all the little references to Beauty and the Beast that Guillory threw in there from Izzy’s first stroll around New York, to the Michaela’s nickname Kettle and her young son, to the Wifi password, and many other gems.
These really solidified the whole “beauty and the beast” look-alike, with Beau’s first appearance being the strongest.
While Beau definitely had his “Beast” moments, once he and Izzy found their stride in working together, the book sort of got a bit….boring.
I found myself skimming because nothing really happened other than them writing and having a few fights but even those ended with profuse apologizing and them talking it through with perfect communication skills.
It was all just a bit too….nice. Almost a bit too fake and unrealistic but I guess that’s what fairytales are, right?
Izzy was a great female lead who learned to stand up for herself a bit more at work and in her own mind about her writing, but Beau just didn’t really grow on me though he was a very nice guy.
I actually really liked the idea behind Beau’s memoir but even that part of the story just kind of came and went.
Overall, I think it was well written and a sweet read that many will enjoy. It just didn’t capture my attention as the story unfolded.
Do I love the tie-in with Beauty and the Beast, absolutely, but I think I was looking for something less sweet, maybe more romantic, and just a bit…more.
*Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced reader copy. All opinions are my own.