26 July 2023

Positively, Penelope | Excerpt + Giveaway

JustRead Publicity Tours


Told mostly through letters, texts, and email, this contemporary romance will charm its way into hearts as Penelope rescues a theater and discovers her true self in the process.

Penelope Edgewood is practically positive in every way, so when, fresh out of college, she is awarded a paid internship to help save a century-old theater on the island of Skymar, she jumps at the chance. After all, a crumbling theater needs the special touch of someone who reveres all things vintage and adores the stage.

Unfortunately, not everything is as it seems at Darling House Theatre. Finances are in shambles, the local theater group is disenchanted, and the two brothers, Matt and Alec Gray, can’t seem to see eye-to-eye about how to run their theatrical business. So, of course, it’s the perfect place for Penelope to shine her own personal brand of sunshine.

With a little help from GK, the person emailing her encouragement along the way, she puts all her heart into helping the Grays save Darling House. But between Matt’s ever-present skepticism, Alec’s tendency to treat Penelope a little too much like the “princess” she thinks she wants to be (until someone actually started treating her that way), a grandfather who is stuck in his grief, and a mysterious person stealing Penelope’s marketing ideas, she’s not sure her optimism is enough to make a happily-ever-after of her own story, let alone The Darling House’s.

Between an adorable little girl, a matchmaker, a sea monster or two, and a copious amount of musical references, can Penelope draw enough confidence from her faith, her family, and her adoration of all things Julie Andrews, to find the thief and save the theater . . . without getting her heart broken in the process?

Publisher: August 1, 2023
Release Date: Thomas Nelson



Penelope’s phone went off in her hand to the ringtone “I Could Have Danced All Night.” She’d changed Matt’s ringtone from “Don’t Worry Be Happy” after she learned he was a dancer. Her smile spread so wide, it stretched her face and she dropped back against the couch as she answered.

“An actual phone call? This must be my lucky day.”

He huffed a response. “You say that as if we don’t communicate almost daily.”

“Not by phone calls.” There was something different about hearing him over the phone. A focus on just his voice, his style of speaking. And she hadn’t expected his voice to sound so . . . well, wonderfully delicious. Like he needed to break out in a rendition of “Some Enchanted Evening.” She rolled her gaze heavenward. She was ridiculous! “But if taking Grandpa Gray out for ice cream will encourage spontaneous phone calls, then it’s a huge win for me. Company with your grandpa, ice cream, and a fun conversation with you. How can that be bad?”

He sputtered for a second and then seemed to find his voice. “How did you convince him to go to the television station and engage in that interview? I can barely get him out of the house.”

“Like I said, I must have looked pretty desperate, so when I offered to tag team the interview with him, he agreed.”

“Just like that?” His skepticism was not heartening at all.

“Well, I promised to make him carrot cake cupcakes.”


She frowned. How did guess so well? “Help him find some more of Granny Gray’s photos that are packed away in the theater.”

Silence followed for a few seconds and she twisted her finger through the little threads at the corners of the pillow in her lap. Should she tell him about her mole concerns? Could she trust him with her fears? What if he were the mole?

She shook her head. That didn’t seem right at all! What would his motive be for The Darling House’s fall?

“Thank you, Penelope.” His quiet gratitude caught her off guard. Gentle. Sincere. Not that he wasn’t usually sincere, and, well, gentle with Iris. So gentle. And kind. But the way he said it left a sweet swell of warmth in her chest. “You were fantastic. Not just getting Grandfather on camera, which was a huge boon for the theater, but the way you added this positive energy to the entire conversation about The Darling House. Alec could never have done what you did today.”

“I hope it helps.” She squeezed the pillow close to her chest, his praise sinking deep. “I may never rescue a princess from a tower, or fight dragons, but I love showing people their potential, watching them . . . I don’t know . . .”

“Believe in themselves, perhaps?”

She hugged the pillow tighter, a mist warming her vision, so she closed her eyes. Men didn’t usually see her that way. Not all the way to her heart. She often wished they did—former dates who took her for a silly, easy conquest, just a pretty face without a brain. But Matthias had just voiced a little piece of her heart that those men never took the time to figure out, and she realized that was exactly something that a friend was supposed to know. She drew in a quivering breath, not realizing how badly she’d wanted to hear a live person’s voice until that moment. And he’d become a friend. “I’m really glad you called. I was feeling a little bit lonely for some reason and your voice was exactly what I needed.”

“You know that if you ever need personal contact, I could send Iris down for a massive princess fest, the likes of which we have never seen in Skymar.”

A laugh burst out and Penelope sighed back into the couch. “And I’m always happy to have her. Who knows? If you keep sending her, we might even convince you that fairy tales aren’t all that bad.”

“Humbug.” But she heard the humor in his voice. Knew how to recognize it, and the knowledge spread her grin even wider.


Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance “peppered” with grace and humor. Writing both historical and contemporary novels, she loves to incorporate her native Appalachian culture and/or her unabashed adoration of the UK into her stories. Pepper's novel, Hope Between the Pages, was a 2022 Christy award finalist. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC, where she is the wife of a fantastic pastor, mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

Connect with Pepper by visiting pepperdbasham.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


(1) winner will receive a print copy of Authentically, Izzy, $20 Amazon gift card, and a Peter Pan mug!

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight July 26, 2023 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on August 2, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.



  1. Sounds like a book I will enjoy reading

  2. This will be a charming and lovely novel to read.

  3. Anonymous26/7/23 17:49

    Thank You for the review.

  4. Sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!

  5. sounds like a wonderful read.

  6. I adore Pepper's novels!