About the Book
Book: Authentically, Izzy
Author: Pepper Basham
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Epistolary
Release Date: November 15, 2022
“Dear Izzy—I feel certain there’s a book-loving man living relatively nearby waiting to speak bookish to you ’til death do you part. You just haven’t met yet.”
Izzy Edgewood is a wannabe bookstore owner, quote queen, and Lord of the Rings nerd who has been waiting for Prince Charming to sweep her off her sneakered feet. But it’s hard to meet people when you spend more time with fictional humans than real ones. Which is why her pragmatist cousin Josephine decides to take Izzy’s future into her own meddling hands and create an online dating profile for the hopeful romantic.
To Izzy’s shock (and suspicion), Josie’s plan works. Soon, she’s dialoguing with a Hobbit-loving man named Brodie who lives in a small town an ocean away from her home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But is their shared love of books, family, and correspondence enough to overcome Izzy’s fear of flying and the literal distance between them? And is a long-distance relationship even worth considering when a local author has been frequenting the library where she works and is proving to be a perfectly fine gentleman?
In this epistolary novel from award-winning author Pepper Basham, bookish dreams and happily-ever-afters collide to create a beautiful sort of magic that’s even better than fiction.
I have this worry that Pepper Basham is stressing about the release of Authentically, Izzy, and I want to alleviate that stress. Let me tell a story of my own…
Many, many months ago I was perusing my favorite publishers in NetGalley when I came across Pepper’s novel, Authentically, Izzy, in Thomas Nelson’s galley shelf. The very first thing I thought when I saw the cover was, “This is perfection, I must request a copy NOW!” So I did, and Thomas Nelson delivered. I realized the book wasn’t releasing to the public until November, so I held out reading it until it got a little closer to publishing time. End of September came and I planned my October reads knowing that Authentically, Izzy had to be one of the books I read. I just could not wait any longer! I’m a full-time working mother. I teach by day and mom/wife by night. This means I have to plan down to the page how much to read each day in my free time (LOL, free time…what is that?) to make sure I get every book I need to read and review completed. I always go to GoodReads or Amazon before I read a book to check out page count so I can divide my pages properly according to my review and work schedule demands. I have to be very careful going to GoodReads or Amazon though because I tend to get caught up in reviews. I hate when this happens. I don’t ever like to read reviews BEFORE I review a book because it can skew my reading.
So, why did I tell you all of this? I’ll get to that in a minute. I promise.
Pepper Basham is one of my most favorite authors. I adore her writing style and love how endearing and relatable her characters are. She is queen at getting a reader’s heart to be super invested in her stories. I typically devour her books and then am left wanting more. I LOVE Authentically, Izzy. This story is magical. Izzy is the type of character I wish were an actual, real human because I want to be her friend. She is such an awesome heroine. I loved getting to be a part of her journey to understanding how un-dealt-with grief can deeply affect a person. How it can shape you into someone you’re not sure you ever wanted to be. I 100% loved how Brodie could see the amazing potential in Izzy from their very first interactions. If you read my reviews, you know that my #1 favorite quality in a hero is when he can see, when he pays attention to details. I love that quality, and Brodie has it in spades. I also love the instant chemistry between Izzy and Brodie, and how their relationship grows over the course of this story. Their early interactions are hilarious. I had some serious laugh-out-loud moments that I had to share with my husband. He laughed, too! But this story is way more than just laughs. It’s so much amazing heart and depth. My heart hurt in some parts. I teared up a bit. I even got a little frustrated at times. But I also cheered for Izzy and Brodie. I had all the feels with this book and I loved every single second!
So, now let me explain why I told you all that stuff about my reading schedule and GoodReads and comments. When I was checking out page #s for this book I saw reviews. Actually, my eyes didn’t focus on the reviews per se, but the stars. There were 1 and 2 star reviews. My heart dropped. How is this possible? What are they thinking? Then I read a couple reviews. Some people are not a fan of Basham’s choice to make Authentically, Izzy an epistolary novel. Let me address this issue — I adore that this book is written in modern-day letters (emails!). I found it incredibly clever. When Izzy and Brodie are in their respective countries, their interactions are through IMs and emails. When they are together in the same country, Basham returns to typical prose. Makes sense, right?! I did have a difficult time reading the emails until I realized that this book needs to be read in actual book form. I read on my Kindle. I love my Kindle, but it was no match for this story. I quickly switched from my Kindle to my NetGalley reader and had NO PROBLEM reading and loving and enjoying heartily this amazing story. So, yes, this story is formatted differently. Put your Kindles and eReaders away for this book and purchase an actual copy. I promise, you won’t have any issue getting into the storyline if you do.
Authentically, Izzy is a wonderful story that I loved wholeheartedly. Yes, it’s written in a unique format, but I found that to add to the magic of this story. I highly recommend this story. If you are a fan of humor and chemistry-filled Contemporary Romances, then Authentically, Izzy is a story you will not want to miss.
I received a galley copy of this novel in eBook form the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via NetGalley, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.