I've always loved retellings of Beauty and the Beast, and By the Book is a captivating take on a favorite trope. It has humor, romance, and two very appealing characters.
Isabelle Marlowe is an over-worked, under-appreciated assistant at Tale as Old as Time, a publishing company in New York; but she has dreams of becoming an editor and maybe even a published author someday.
Beau Towers is the son of two celebrities and a former teen hearthrob known for his bad behavior; he's supposed to be writing a tell-all memoir, only for the past year he's pretty much become a recluse.
Isabelle's boss is sure Beau is never going to finish his memoir; Isabelle has her doubts, too, but she impulsively volunteers to go to Santa Barbara to talk to him in person. And at first, Beau is brusque and rude....but mostly he doesn't have a clue where or how to begin writing his book. Luckily, Isabelle is persistent and refuses to give up. She convinces him to let her help and as Beau starts to write his story, a friendship develops between them that slowly grows into something more.
My thoughts: I liked how Isabelle's and Beau's relationship developed and deepened so naturally over the course of the novel. Their misunderstandings and angry accusations were resolved with apologies and honest, heartfelt conversations, which I also appreciated. And I thoroughly enjoyed their witty banter, Isabelle's surfing lessons from Beau, and their shared love of snacks. I also loved all their bookish interactions as Beau struggles with his writing and Isabelle helps him work on his book. And their closed-door romance? Very sweet and swoony. I'd definitely give this one 4 stars.
P.S. This is also another good one for Susan's Bookish Books Reading Challenge.