Cover Image: Authentically, Izzy

Authentically, Izzy

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I was drawn in from the start, “Dear Reader, this is a cautionary tale. A tale of family, literary classics, podiatry, matchmaking, Shakespeare, and distance.”

 It’s all that and so much more. I loved the bookish setting, and the authors’ fresh voice in contemporary fiction. I found myself smiling all the way through the book because of Izzy, her love of books, her transparency, and her wit. I enjoyed how the author wrote this tale. It reminded me of how the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was written through letters. This novel is written mostly through texts, and emails which included family chats that made the story endearing, different, witty, and downright hilarious and made me laugh out loud in parts. My family kept asking me what was so funny.

I’ve read other novels by this author, which were mostly historical, it was great to see her branch out to another genre. If you love bookstores, libraries, and bookish things, you will love this novel. I also liked the two main characters, and their loving families.  Izzy, who is caught up in a library job she likes, but her heart’s desire is to own a bookstore. I enjoyed watching her get the courage to chase after her dreams and pursue her chance for true love.

Brodie has dreams of his own. Could this person he knows only online might be something more than a friend? I loved every minute of this book, it’s fun, fun, fun. It truly is a wonderful escape that keeps your heart happy, and a grin on your face as you go on a grand adventure with Izzy, her quirky family, and Brodie.

I highly recommend this heartfelt, joyful, uplifting story that includes discussion questions for your book club. This novel is a keeper.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I requested and received a copy of this book by the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! https://psalm516.blogspot.com/
The Book Club Network blog
Was this review helpful?
This was such an adorably fun and unique book! It was so charming and I really enjoyed the overall story. About 50% of the book was all written in email / text correspondence between our main character Izzy, her cousins and Izzy with the male main character Brodie. I don't think I have EVER read such a bookish book before, it had so many quirky references from books and it added such a great aspect for the character development. Another thing I loved is that this virtual love story was soo incredibly realistic; let me explain what I mean...sometimes you have books with "insta-love" or something that progresses super fast but this, this was done in a way that took you along for the ride and you saw [or read] them slowly falling in love with each other and I ABSOLUTLEY loved that. 

This had a ton of other fun elements like overbearing siblings who want to play matchmaker, adorable pets with bookish names, HUGE part of this also focused on Brodies family owned bookstores and Izzy's job in her town library; Basically every aspect of this book truly showcased the love of books and reading through its characters. 

Without giving any spoilers, I'll say, it was such a great bookish romantic comedy, and I was hooked from start to finish. Highly recommend this book if you like all things bookish, an adorable love story and a swoon worthy character like Brodie. 

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Authentically, Izzy is a such a  wholesome and cute read. The story hooks you right from the beginning and has you laughing along. I enjoyed the unique formatting and found it a unique change of pace from the traditional print book. Overall I really enjoyed it!
Was this review helpful?
I have read MANY epistolary books and loved them. Unfortunately, I didn’t love how the epistolary style was used in this story. 

First, in 2022, no one in their 30s sends lengthy emails back and forth several times a day or even a week unless it’s work related. (You’re lucky if a 30-year-old checks their personal email once a week.) This method of communication would have worked in the 1990s and early 2000s, but it’s definitely not believable for now. Quick texts, WhatsApp/iMessage chat threads and the occasional email would have been more realistic and helped keep the story moving along. 

In addition, I found many of the emails between the cousins to be full of unnecessary info sharing that didn’t move the plot along. I also felt like the email format created a wall that made it hard to connect with the characters. There were some sweet interactions, and Luke was by far my favourite character (maybe because of the succinctness and brevity of his messages), but I didn’t feel any chemistry or driving conflict that made me feel compelled to read on. I finished this book through pure determination. 

All that being said, I do know of library patrons who will enjoy this book, and I won’t hesitate to recommend it to them. 

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 
#AuthenticallyIzzy #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
Izzy's story is fun, cute, wholesome and entertaining.  I was hooked at the beginning and just loved the emails and texts. I laughed and love when a book makes me laugh. The format did change about halfway through the book where it read more like a traditional book instead of emails and texts, but it was done that way so you could experience the story to its fullest. All of the book talk was so much fun! I have more books on my TBR list now. I was more invested in the first half than the second. I hope more characters get a story. I read an advance copy,  all thoughts are my own. I recommend this to those who love epistolary stories.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and publisher for this ARC publication for an honest review.

Authentically, Izzy
by Pepper Basham
Pub Date: 15 Nov 2022   

This book was authentically AWESOME! It absolutely captured my bookish heart and filled me with joy...

The majority of the book is told through correspondence (emails/text messages) and not just between the romantic leads. Everything about the writing felt so real and it made me a giddy voyeur to be a part of the group chats. The author did such a wonderful job showcasing each character and their relationships through the letters. 

I loved everything about this book: the humor, the family dynamics, the journey of discovering the "authentic you" and overcoming fears, the talk of faith, the romance, the book quotes and discussions, the dogs, the setting, the library/bookstore, the overall magical feeling of finding a happily ever after.... Brodie and Izzy forever!
Was this review helpful?
I laughed so much while reading this that my seatmate on the airplane finally asked for the name of the book and author so she could get in on the fun!

"I don’t know any brand of cookie dough ice cream with the potency to comfort me in this situation"

"I really hope romantic catastrophes aren’t hereditary. Between you and Luke, I’m doomed."

"Oh gracious, Izzy, I just sounded like you! I need to go buy some new shoes."

And I identified with this quote so much: "What does a woman who adores books, tolerates small groups of people, and has a magical love for bringing together the right people and the right books do with her life?" My answer was to start a book blog. Izzy got a bit more creative and adventurous!

I love how most of the story was written through emails and text messages. That is how we communicate so much of the time, and it made the story of random strangers half a world apart finding each other possible.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and I chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Authentically, Izzy is an adorable rom com book! I loved reading about Izzy and Brodie. This has an online dating premise which can always be fun to read about.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson publishers. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I had high expectations for this title based on the cover and description on NetGalley. Had the description included the fact that this was Christian fiction, however, I would not have requested it. If that's what you like to read, more power to you. I didn't enjoy the mention of God, going to church, etc practically on every page, and I felt like these characters were right out of the 1800's, including their speech patterns. For goodness sake, Izzy is 30 years old and her (female) cousin is basically saying she's nothing without a man. And then she goes and sets up an online dating profile without Izzy's consent? No thank you. I did enjoy some of the writing, but again, it's 2022 and these 4 young main characters are emailing pages and pages to each other every day. Who does that anymore? And who has the time? And 3 of them live in the same town! The character of Luke had all the best lines, some had me laughing out loud, but it wasn't enough to sustain interest. I gave up at 30%. Too bad, because it was a great concept. I couldn't connect with any of them.
Was this review helpful?
Brilliant in every way!

Those who enjoy classic literature will be delightfully fulfilled by Authentically, Izzy. True to form, Pepper Basham has crafted another witty, intelligent and poignant RomCom. I enjoyed the wealth of literary quotes, particularly from The Lord of the Rings. A big bonus is the strong emphasis on authentic expression of yourself. The best LOL line of the book, among several: "Buy a dog." Readers will appreciate the context of that quote. 

I received a complimentary copy of the book without obligation. This review is my opinion.
Was this review helpful?
This was a fun read. I loved the epistolary format, and all the unabashed book love. Izzy is a fun and relatable heroine. She’s a little quirky, and definitely unsure of herself, which is something I think we can all relate to. But she’s a very positive person, and a big dreamer, which is fun to read about. Brodie is a swoon-worthy hero. From his accent, to his sweater vests, and his love of books, readers will be charmed by him. Add in the witty and pithy conversations exchanged via email between Izzy and Brodie, and you have a read that fans of contemporary romance will love.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I believe Authentically, Izzy by Pepper Basham was written specifically for readers like ME! As a southern Tennessee girl, who grew up on Andy Griffith and loves all things Scottish and Lord of the Rings, this book was written for me! I ADORED this story that Pepper has so beautiful weaved together through e-mails and text message chats. I have never read a book that was SO ME before until now. 5 BIG STARS!

This epistolary novel will leave delightfully uplifted and your heart full. Lovers of all things bookish will ADORE this read with so many great literary references, from Lord of the Rings, Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, Harry Potter and so much more. Extra bonus for my southern readers who love old school shows like Andy Griffith!

This story is centered around Izzy Edgewood, whose cousin sets her up on a dating website in her games of matchmaking once again. 😊 Izzy is a big book lover and fan of Lord of the Rings, so her profile photo is set up as Éowyn from LOTR, when “Brodie the Hobbit” comes in with the best message yet. Izzy and Brodie build a beautiful bond online and start getting to know each other. With Izzy living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Brodie all the way across the world on an island near Scotland, is this a match made in heaven or one doomed for failure? 

As I mentioned, I think this story was written for ME! I loved the characters so much and the audiobook truly made them come to life! I highly recommend the audio narration as we have some fun southern and British (sounds fairly Scottish to me 😉) accents! Izzy is such a fun, eccentric character who really makes you remember why we LOVE books! Brodie is a bookish guy who has all the right bookish quotes and swoon worthy e-mails. With his family owning a bookstore, he’s the perfect bookish guy! I am a lover of all things Scottish too, so the Skymar Islands was AMAZING to read about! I love that we have a map of the Islands and that it has all the Scottish vibes I love! 

Izzy’s cousins were HILARIOUS, and I can’t wait to read more about them in the next book of this series! Brodie's Mom was also perfect! Just love the family vibes in this story too. 

We really got to know these amazing characters so well as Pepper told their stories through the e-mails and texts throughout the story. You will laugh out loud SO many times when reading or listening to this story – I had the best time with it! I needed this book so much and loved every minute. My favorite parts were the Lord of the Rings, Andy Griffith and Star Wars references.

This cute, clean Christian romance was so much fun and I highly recommend it! Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson Publishers and Pepper Basham for a copy to honestly read and review. I have posted a reading VLOG on my YouTube channel, BookLoverAmanda just for this book! (Linked in the links below.)

P.S. I think I need a dog named Samwise now!
Was this review helpful?
If you love books, this one is a real treat.  There are many discussions of books, tons of quotes, just about every scene is related to books of some kind.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I even made a few notes of books to check out.

I was drawn in  from the first words of the prologue.  "Dear Reader, This is a cautionary tale.  A tale of family, literary classics, podiatry, matchmaking, Shakespeare, and distance."  I love quirky situations, writing, and characters.  Izzy is a little gun shy when it comes to relationships so her cousin decides to help her out by creating a profile for her on an online dating site. Josephine is quite overbearing and controlling.  It's a wonder that Izzy still talks to her after all of her antics. 

Brodie is wonderful.  He sees beyond what Izzy presents to the world to who she really is. He brings out and encourages her to see and use her God-given talents and abilities.  

This book was a delight.  I'd highly recommend it to anyone who loves words and quotes and books.  Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free e-copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
A romance about books, libraries and bookshops.
Izzy Edgewood’s cousin Josephine sets up a profile on a dating site – Heart to Heart for Izzy which prompts a series of emails and text messages between Izzy and Josephine and other family members. Izzy’s life and her connections with family members is told through emails and text messages between family members.
Things get interesting when Broddie starts writing to Izzy, they both have a love of reading and books.
I loved the way books were discussed throughout. I did not like that most of the story was through emails and text messages, although for this particular story it did work and in the last part there were less messages and more dialog between people.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you. Netgalley for my copy of this book. Super cute & delightful bookish romance novel. I loved the email & text exchanges and all the literary references. 

Overall. I really enjoyed it. 3.5 stars
Was this review helpful?
I desperately wanted to enjoy this book because the premise and the references were there, and I think most bookworms would enjoy the uplifting vibes of this story and find it relatable. However, the eARC I was sent by Netgalley was poorly formatted, with the Publisher's logo constantly getting in the middle of the narration, and I just couldn't get through it. The fact that the story is mostly told through e-mails unfortunately didn't help my reading experience, nor to connect to the characters the way I would have wanted to.
I'm sure Authentically, Izzy will be much more enjoyable through a physical copy. Regardless, thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Authentically, Izzy is a sweet contemporary romance written in Pepper Basham's signature style, full of wit and charm with dashes of Appalachian and British culture. This story is told mostly in epistolary format, through emails, text messages, and online dating messages. It is a unique format for a unique story! Izzy and Brodie's friendship, formed through a mutual love of books and clever banter, is sweet to watch as it develops into romance. They are a perfect pairing, like a cup of coffee or tea and a good book - bringing out the best in each other. Izzy's cousin Luke stole the show for me, though! His witty yet sincere wisdom and advice added a sweet richness to the story in the middle of his sister's scheming. Bibliophiles and contemporary romance fans will be delighted to spend a few hours in Izzy's world!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
A book for cheering the heart, this romantic comedy is perfect for fans of You’ve Got Mail.  The interactions through emails and texts between these two characters and their families were laugh out loud funny.   The book quotes and all things books discussions are great fun.  Also any Lord of the Rings fans will find their type of people in this read.  Basham has created unique characters that will keep this series going.  I recommend that you let the journey begin. I received a complimentary copy of this book.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
Absolute bookish perfection! This sweet romance, centered around book lovers, is so perfect. I love the characters, the setting, the epistolary style—honestly, I loved everything about this book. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
Was this review helpful?
** “Love isn’t safe. Dreams aren’t safe. I’ve played it safe for a long time by allowing others to make choices for me or by following the easy path. Maybe it’s time for me to risk my future on something as unpredictable, uncertain, and impractical as a dream and my own heart. Adventures happen in unexpected ways, and maybe it’s time to take the adventures from the page to real life.” **

Pepper Basham delivers an incredibly delightful epistolary novel with “Authentically, Izzy.”

When Izzy Edgewood’s cousin Josephine signs her up for the Heart-to-Heart dating app, Izzy doesn’t realize her life is about to drastically change.

She suddenly finds herself with two dating prospects as Izzy meets the intriguing Brodie Sutherland from an unfamiliar island across the ocean while being introduced to professor and author Eli Montgomery. As Izzy’s eyes and heart are opened to what she truly desires, she finds herself daring to dream a dream she’s never dared to dream. Will she find her true love, and will she find her life’s true path?

Written mostly in letter form — emails, texts and online letters — “Authentically, Izzy” is filled with funny moments, romantic moments and moments that will allow the reader to pause and evaluate their own dreams and desires.

Basham creates delightfully quirky characters readers will fall in love with, as well as filling “Authentically, Izzy” with some great themes, like fiction can speak to the heart; seeing potential in one’s self and others; overcoming uncertainty; God will give us the desires of our hearts (“Why are we always so surprised when God gives us something we’ve been praying for? It’s like we don’t believe He’s actually listening”); and being grateful for God-given talents and passions. 

Also, a huge theme of this novel is the sense of belonging (“It’s about taking what you have within you, what God-given gifts you already possess, and falling in love with them. Making them work for your future. Uniquely. That’s how you make your life worth living, for yourself and others”).

Fans of epistolary novels like “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” as well as authors like Katherine Reay will love this story.

Five stars out of five. 

Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy through NetGalley for my honest, unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?