Last week I read Pepper Basham’s latest release, Authentically, Izzy, a delightful epistolary novel which released today. Someone raved about it in an online reader group I frequent, and I jumped onto NetGalley and submitted a “pretty please let me read it” request to Thomas Nelson. I’m so glad they approved my request because I not only thoroughly enjoyed this witty book, but it unintentionally thrust me down memory lane.
See, I have a “thing” for handwritten letters. Whether romantic correspondence between deceased lovers from a hundred years ago or a sweet note from my girls, I enjoy getting to know people through the written word. There’s just something… intimate about sharing letters with another person. (Mr Wonderful isn’t a letter writer. Boo.)
I had a penpal when I was in primary school. Charlee (pronounced Shar-lee). I gave my details to a visiting USA children’s ministry pastor and weeks later, I received my first letter from my American penpal. I was ecstatic.
We wrote to each other for several years, sharing stories about our siblings, the things we enjoyed outside of school and church, and even sent each other photos of ourselves and our families. She blew my mind about driving on the wrong side of the road, and I disabused her of her idea that Australians rode kangaroos. 😉 I have a sneaking suspicion we also exchanged mix tapes on music casettes? I just recall loving the afternoons I’d come home from school, flop on my bed and read her next epistle (because we were both rather verbose in our letters, even as tweenagers).
We lost touch in secondary school and in hindsight, I’m a little sad we did. Over the years, I filled that void with handwritten notes to friends at school, a letter here or there with a guy I liked, and old-school updates to my interstate family.
Then email and text messages revolutionised the way I communicated with others. I bought my first mobile phone at age nineteen and sent way too many text messages… back in the day when they charged for every single text. *gulp*
I still tend to “over-talk” in my emails and texts. And the characters in Authentically, Izzy share similar traits.
Izzy Edgewood is the sort of heroine I gravitate towards because we share a lot of commonalities. Bookish and introverted, she wrote long emails to her cousins and the one guy she met online who didn’t seem insane. A loveable character, I enjoyed each revelation of her quirky personality through her entertaining exchanges. I mean, how could I not love someone who chatted about Pride & Prejudice, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and classic literature? Even Chris Pine came up in one email chain… bonus! 😃
Despite over fifty percent of the book passing before we saw any “on-screen dialogue”, this novel hooked me. The descriptive conversations, cheeky banter between family, and frustrating meddling from one particular cousin had me flipping pages (plus the literary burns Izzy’s cousins threw at each other cracked me up). Even though I’m a huge lover of reading delightful dialogue, somehow I didn’t miss it. Perhaps the intimate nature of the letter exchange scratched that itch. Or maybe it was swoony “Brodie the Hobbit” who captured my attention?
Either way, Authentically, Izzy is a contemporary Christian romance worth reading.
Until next time,
(NB: I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)