Fiction

A Positively Delightful Epistolary Foreign Island Romance from Pepper Basham

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Authentically, Izzy is absolutely, positively, unequivocally delightful. Another five-star read from Pepper Basham that’s going straight to my top ten list for the year. A partially epistolary tale, featuring both a library and a bookshop. What could be more perfect?! 

I fell in love with my husband through six years of old-fashioned correspondence, so I’m partial to anything epistolary, but this book is simply exquisite. Just when you’re completely engrossed in the email banter between the cousins, or you’re anxious to read the next email to Izzy from you-know-who, the author brings you directly into the scene at just the right moment. Because of course, those swoony kisses can only be described by the author herself.

This perfect bookshop book has so many bookish references that it leaves no doubt of the heroine’s—and the author’s—love for books. Basham’s Tolkien references alone would be enough to convince the reader, but the literary mentions don’t stop there. Authentically, Izzy will delight every book lover.

And can we just take a moment to appreciate the cousin relationships in this book? I grew up very close to my eleven cousins, and I still consider them some of my dearest friends today. So I can’t help but love the way Izzy relates to her cousins, especially Luke. And then I do a double take when I catch glimpses of myself in Izzy’s oldest cousin Josephine. Giggling at their relationship dynamics makes me even more thankful for my cousins and the way they love me and have put up with me through the years! 

“Izzy looked back at her cousins…and a sweet tenderness swelled through her. Family. Belonging. Love. All of them took risks. Faith in those people loving you even when you’re not very loveable. Belief that they’ll speak truth into your life when you need to hear it…and give you a good nudge too. Yeah, she knew what authenticity looked like because she’d seen it her whole life, even if it came in imperfect ways.”

(from Chapter 24 of Authentically, Izzy)

Authentically, Izzy is just the right length to savor—and then to re-read, as I’m sure I’ll be doing many times. (I can’t wait for Positively, Penelope. And I’m really hoping the author and publisher decide to give Luke his own book someday!)

Authentically, Izzy is available today in paperback or Kindle, as well as an audiobook with multiple narrators—and accents! (The audiobook is also available on Scribd, so if you’ve been tempted to try a 60-day free trial, now might be the perfect time!)


Review from my almost-15-year-old daughter Ruth Anne:

Books and romance are two singularly good things. But when combined, they compliment each other like chocolate and peanuts, unless, of course, the reader is allergic to peanuts. 

Authentically, Izzy is an epistolary delight of the bookish kind, filled with wit and humor, character and kindness. Pepper Basham’s beautiful love stories—wherein you can be sure to find a happily ever after—leave me with the time-tested truth that “love bears all things”. 

Josephine, Luke, Penelope, and Izzy are a study of human nature. People aren’t always what they seem; sometimes there is a deeper, more painful story behind the brave facade. 

I’m glad I read Izzy’s story. Isabelle Edgewood, fellow recluse and book lover, is an inspiring heroine who has warmed the very depths of my heart. Her realization of her weakness and the way that a swoon-worthy man from the Island of Skymar helps her overcome her inadequacy is the epitome of storycraft. 

I cannot wait for Penelope’s story and look forward with equal expectancy to any other tales of the Edgewood cousins.


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Disclosure: I read an advanced digital review copy from NetGalley, but I pre-ordered my own paperback and will be giving away copies for Christmas.

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One Comment

  1. Gretchen and Ruth!!!! You guys have been the icing on my Book Birthday cake!! I love both of your reviews and am so honored that you’d take the time to read and review Izzy’s story. My hope is to get Penelope into your hands as soon as I can 😉 And YES, I’m hoping Luke gets his own story too!!