Saturday, December 3, 2022

AUTHENTICALLY, IZZY by Pepper Basham, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"I want you to trust me enough to be authentically you."

Book-loving, line-quoting, hat-wearing, parade-leading librarian Isabelle Louisa Edgewood has possibly just met her "match" . . . ummm . . . on an online dating sight no less . . . her profile set up by her very-pregnant, slightly interfering, (change that to always interfering) matchmaker cousin Penelope, who seems to take delight in conjuring up potential boyfriends for Izzy. Wait a minute, could this man actually be Penelope in disguise . . . you never know . . . virtual relationships are tricky like that . . . because Brodie (who lives across an ocean, for goodness sake) seems too good to be true.

Thankfully Izzy's other two cousins combine their voices into some common sense; of course Brodie is a real person, Penelope hasn't even read enough books to come up with the clever bookish references that flow so naturally into Brodie's correspondence. And after video chatting with the man, Izzy is trying very hard not to be "smitten". . . because the reality is, behind the screen Izzy is terrified; is Izzy Edgewood enough? (and she is REALLY afraid of flying, but of course, he hasn't asked her to fly yet, and why is she even thinking about leaving her home, that she loves, and never wants to leave)

The sheer volume of witty, clever conversations in this epistolary novel is utterly charming! Izzy's transformation from trying to be who others want her to be . . . into becoming a young woman who has been fearfully and wonderfully made into exactly who God desires her to be . . . well, it is an epic odyssey that not even Homer himself could have written! And to think that her heart might perfectly entwined with another . . . "isn't there some Bible verse about God doing exceedingly and abundantly above what we even think?"

If I had known that happily-ever-afters could be this well written, I would have been reading considerably more of them.

*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.  4.5 stars



BackCover Blurb:

Dear Reader, My name is Isabelle Louisa Edgewood—Izzy, for short. I live by blue-tinted mountains, where I find contentment in fresh air and books. Oh, and coffee and tea, of course. And occasionally in being accosted by the love of my family. (You’ll understand my verb choice in the phrase later.) I dream of opening my own bookstore, but my life, particularly my romantic history, has not been the stuff of fairy tales. Which is probably why my pregnant, misled, matchmaking cousin—who, really, is more like my sister—signed me up for an online dating community.

The trouble is . . . it worked. I’ve met my book-quoting Mr. Right, and our correspondence has been almost too good to be true. But Brodie lives across an ocean. And just the other day, a perfectly nice author and professor named Eli came into the library where I work and asked me out for a coffee. I feel a rom-com movie with a foreboding disaster nipping at my heels.

But I’ve played it safe for a long time. Maybe it’s time for me to be as brave as my favorite literary heroines. Maybe it’s time to take the adventures from the page to real life. Wish me luck.



  • Witty, hilarious, and heartwarming contemporary romance about book lovers
  • A sweet, kisses-only romance
  • An epistolary novel written mostly in emails and texts
  • Stand-alone novel
Thomas Nelson Publishing, November 15, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:


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