Published: 23rd January 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Format: Print, soft cover courtesy of the publisher
RRP: $29.99 (print)/ $9.99 (Ebook)
A quick-witted, contemporary romance about losing your cool.
What woman doesn’t love a real-life hero? Harriet Scott, for one. The fiercely independent daughter of famous adventurers, she grew up travelling the world on the environmental flagship The Watch. So when Harriet’s ship sinks in Antarctica and she has to be rescued by Commander Per Amundsen, an infuriatingly capable Norwegian naval officer and living breathing action hero, her world is turned upside down.
Like their namesakes, the original Scott and Amundsen who competed to reach the South Pole first, Per and Harriet have different ways of doing things. Per thinks Harriet is an accident waiting to happen; Harriet thinks Per is a control freak. But when Harriet realises that Per is the only one who can help her fund the new ship she desperately wants, she is forced to cooperate with him.
Per refuses to assist unless Harriet allows him to teach her to swim. But there is more to Harriet’s terrible fear of water than meets the eye. Can Harriet face her fears and come to terms with the trauma and loss of her past? And will she begin to appreciate that some risks are well worth taking—and that polar opposites can, in fact, attract?
In the interest of full disclosure, I read this book way back in 2017, but it has taken me this long to get my thoughts straight and countless edits and rewrites of this review, before I was happy to post it. When I write a review, I have this unrealistic expectation that the review will reflect and represent everything the book meant to me… when it comes to this book however, words failed me big time. They still do, that is the kind of power it has on me, even now when almost twelve months has past since I initially read it.
In At The Deep End was a book I initially dismissed. There was something about the cover that kept turning me away from the book when it kept appearing in pre-release emails. It wasn’t until a publicist reached out to me and told me I’d like the book and did I want a review copy, that I gave in and gave it a chance… little did I know then how much this book would change me, the power it would hold over me, and that I would eventually end up owning a copy purchased in every available format, while also forcing it on to friends and family at every chance I was given.
Billed as a rom-com, I expected to laugh while reading In At The Deep End; what I didn’t expect however was to cry. And not a couple of tears either; I’m talking about the full on sobbing, red-rimmed eyes, bubbling mess ugly tears kind of crying. My heart was hurting for everything that these characters went through and continued to go through. I didn’t know at times if I want to reach through the pages and hug them or strangle them for the decisions they were making. I wanted, still want too, to cocoon them from everything , and if that’s not a mark of a brilliant book by a masterfully story teller, I really don’t know what is.
In At The Deep End is an outstanding debut novel by Australian author Penelope Janu. Set in both Sydney and the Antarctic, it’s a story about the environment, family and exactly how far we are willing to go to protect the ones we love the most. It’s incredibly well researched, inspiring and uplifting, and one of the most well written and masterfully told stories that I read in 2017 hands down. The characters and the feelings they evoked in me, still linger today at the end of 2018.
As far as the story goes, I’m not going to tell you much, or really anything about this book except to say that it’s an epic slow burn romance that is sure to capture your heart and make you swoon. It’s the perfect read for fans of the enemies-to-lovers trope and just anyone who likes a compelling, intelligent and well written narrative.
Both Harriet and Per are super strong characters, who are both extremely stubborn and steadfast and were always destined to clash in a dramatic way. Fueled by emotions, historical backgrounds and environmental interests, the two characters have a magnetic connection that transcends the words on the page; all of which gives this already powerful story an extra level of depth and intellectual acclaim that is second to none in my eyes. What’s more the Antarctica setting and environmental focus, gives In At The Deep End a refreshing and unique feel that I have not witnessed before. All of which combines to make on hell of hell good read with a phenomenal slow burn romance that literal develops before your eyes.
I think it’s safe to say, that In At The Deep End by Penelope Janu is one of my all time favourite books now. While it re-taught me a valuable lesson of not judging a book by the cover again (we are all guilty of it), it also set Penelope Janu as one of my most highly anticipated must buy authors. Since reading this book in 2017, Janu has released three more books and I’ve read them all and been on the hunt for each and every one of them on release day. I’ve also re-read In At The Deep End twice more since then.
In At The Deep End is the perfect read to cool you down during these insane summer heat waves, making it a perfect beach read. While the hopeless romantics out there, and souls with massive hearts, will cry a number of tears, you will laugh so much more than you will cry. I truly believe this book is phenomenal and you really need to pick up a copy ASAP.
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