The Authenticity Project

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A story about connection, community, and the kindness of strangers.
Six strangers with one universal thing in common: their lives aren’t always what they make them out to be.

What would happen if they told the truth instead?

Julian Jessop is tired of hiding the deep loneliness he feels. So he begins The Authenticity Project – a small green notebook containing the truth about his life.

Leaving the notebook on a table in his friendly neighbourhood café, Julian never expects Monica, the owner, to track him down after finding it. Or that she’ll be inspired to write down her own story.

Little do they realize that such small acts of honesty hold the power to impact all those who discover the notebook and change their lives completely.

The Authenticity Project

Reading this book uninterrupted for an entire day whilst stretching out on a sunbed looking out over a stunning Greek bay was my intention  –  I had mentally earmarked it for my Easter break In Rhodes as soon as it landed on my doormat. Being a busy teacher, it isn’t often that I get to indulge myself by spending a whole day reading a book from cover to cover .

Unfortunately the lockdown ate into my plans for a Greek idyll – but The Authenticity Project soon swept me away from my feelings of disappointment, anxiety and worry – proving to be worth its weight in gold for a springtime heartwarming read and it’s one I can’t wait to shout about in my book column as soon as it goes to print. Thanks so much to Anne Cater for doing me the honour of allowing me to finish off the blog tour , and if you haven’t already, I’d definitely recommend you take a look at the blogposts from my fellow #RandomThingsBloggers and their thoughts on this incredible feel-good read.

This book is everything that a read of the year should be – warm-hearted, filled with characters that you both believe in and care about and wonderfully written. Julian’s loneliness is brought vividly to life and we see the full effect it wreaks on him as everyone else’s life goes on around him, seemingly oblivious to his suffering.

The diverse and wonderfully realistic characters are brought to life just as delightfully as you could ever wish for and there are plenty of one-liners that you’ll be absolutely dying to share. I absolutely loved the character of  Julian who leaves his infamous green notebook in Monica’s cafe, saying “Everyone lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth?” He’s inscribed ‘The Authenticity Project’ on the cover, hoping that Monica, the café’s owner will eventually find it, which she does, and the rest – as they say – is history…


The Authenticity Project has exactly the right balance – you are absolutely rooting for these characters – despite their interesting, diverse and unusual life choices  – I mean we’ve all experienced challenges in our lives and – but how many of us get the experience of having to challenge the way we’ve always seen ourselves and given the chance to change the direction of our entire lives – just when we need it most?

flat lay photography of coffee in teacup near plate of sliced cake


This charming, feel-good novel is sure to provoke much discussion if it’s chosen for your book group. I can’t wait to lend it to my mum to read so that I could talk it over with someone who I know will love it just as much as I have. You’ll end up finishing this book feeling like you know these characters as actual people in your life and that’s the highest compliment you can really give to a book; I really loved it and I’m going to be recommending it to everyone as it’s such a special and lovely book.

The Authenticity Project

As a general rule, I’d avoid a book that people were calling ‘heartwarming’ but The Authenticity Project is heartwarming in the very best way.  It deals with transformation and hope not by talking about the way these lives aren’t fulfilled– but by allowing us to see how much happier these characters deserve to be, if only they give themselves the chance. It is written with sensitivity, intelligence and a wonderfully warm sense of humour and I can’t wait to read more by Clare Pooley

If any of us are lucky enough to get abroad this summer, this is the perfect book to pack – it not only packs an emotional punch, it will also make you laugh so hard at times that you’ll spill your afternoon cocktail. I *might* know someone who actually did  in their own garden last week in the sunshine. And – if we are still on lockdown, I can think of few books that will fill your heart and allow you to escape from this strange and unfamiliar situation for a few hours with a cast of characters you’ll absolutely fall for, hook line and sinker…

Buy yourself a copy here, you definitely won’t regret it:

The Authenticity Project

I loved The Authenticity Project. It has such an intriguing premise, wonderful characters and is utterly truthful about the lies that we all tell. It’s a clever, uplifting book that entertains and makes you think., Sophie Kinsella

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Original, engaging and unforgettable.’, Sunday Times bestselling author, Sarah Morgan

Beautifully written, thought provoking and uplifting, The Authenticity Project is a warm and endearing tale about truth, friendship and the power of connection. Pooley’s characters will stay with you long after you turn the final page. It was a joy to read., Mike Gayle

It’s full of life’s truths, funny, poignant and ultimately uplifting. I thoroughly enjoyed it., Fanny Blake

I loved The Authenticity Project. I powered through it and it was such a joy. It gave me that warm fuzzy feeling that I’ve so missed (since the days of Love Actually etc). It really reminded me of those classic Richard Curtis films… Fab characters and just the right amount of romance, humour and weepy moments., Rachel Marks

The Authenticity Project

Writer On The Shelf

Clare Pooley

Clare Pooley graduated from Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising before becoming a full-time mum. She is the author of the hugely popular blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker, under the pseudonym ‘Sober Mummy’ and her memoir, The Sober Diaries was published by Hodder in 2017 to critical acclaim.
Her blog has had over two million hits and she recently gave a TEDx talk titled Making Sober Less Shameful. Clare’s debut novel The Authenticity Project is inspired by the time Clare spent in advertising, a world where the line between authenticity and fiction is constantly blurred, and by her own experience of exposing truth about her seemingly perfect life in her memoir.

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