By The Book by Jasmine Guillory Spoilers Ahead
If you’re a fan of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, then By the Book by Jasmine Guillory is the romance novel for you. If by any chance, you aren’t a fan of the tale as old as time, this story is still for you. It’s rare to determine you already love the story so early in the novel and continue to care immensely throughout it, but Guillory’s writing is that good.
As a fairytale retelling, no part of the story is too on the nose, even when it is. There are no magical inanimate objects that talk, the mansion isn’t enchanted as a result of a curse, and Beau Towers most certainly isn’t a CGI beast. Instead, he’s a grump harboring years of guilt-ridden heartaches, struggling through writing his memoir. Isabelle “Izzy” Marlow is like many of us — a lover of books, working through her understanding of writer’s block in a job where she’s undervalued. The forced proximity is entirely work-related, and the progression into a relationship is deliciously sweet.
Beau and Izzy are the kind of couple worth rooting for from the moment their walls come down, leading to a gratifying form of the grump and sunshine escalation. There’s a delirious, dream-like coziness to their love story that brings a lovely spark to California, which this local writer is always opposed to reading about. And that’s probably something so few will feel, but By The Book by Jasmine Guillory continued to surprise me with every word.
While the love story is charming and delightful, this novel is also for every person who doubts whether they’re a writer or not. “If you write, you’re a writer.” We’ve all likely heard the sentiment before, but how Guillory threads it into Beau and Izzy’s story, digging into their minds to bring out the fears intermingling with the emotions, creates something so special that it’s a comforting treat.
And where Beauty and the Beast is concerned, though we all find comfort in different parts of the story, there is no denying that the library scene is the kind of wondrous moment that made us each gasp. A large chunk of the story is unpacked inside the library and learning little details within the imagery and the quiet moments between characters construct a lovely kind of imagery that contributes to the book’s warmth.
The surprising turn of events within the story make the text that much more engaging, creating a seamless love story that binds two people in a mutual understanding that benefits them both. Instead of an enchanted mirror to reveal vulnerabilities and showcase whereabouts, a journal holds emotions close to its heart, allowing Izzy to find comfort in the words at the right time. If you’re an easy crier like me, this might just be the moment where the waterworks start.
Jasmine Guillory is undoubtedly one of the most enamoring romance writers out there, and her third-person point-of-view narration allows readers to see pieces of all characters that bring something unique to the story. Guillory succeeds in all areas as a writer, and By The Book is her best work yet.