Thank you to the wonderful readers who have reviewed In at the Deep End. Here are some recent reviews (and there are many more on Goodreads and Amazon). If you've read my books and would like to write a review yourself, that would be great! Or just send me an email. I love to hear from readers!

Booktopia Australia chose In at the Deep End as its romance book of the month in its December newsletter, which was very exciting! The book was also chosen as one of the top five romance picks of the month by Booktopia. Thanks to Booktopia for sharing the book around the office! I'm delighted that you all enjoyed it. Here is Anastasia Hadjidemetri's review.

I have a confession to make. Whilst some people steal little shampoo bottles and slippers from hotels, I 'borrow' Do Not Disturb signs. I won't go into details as I feel I'll incriminate myself, but in my defence, there have been some beautifully designed ones and I needed to have them.

And the point of this little confession? After a few pages of In at the Deep End, I dug out one of my borrowed (ahem) Do Not Disturb signs and hung it on my door. I knew from page 6 I couldn't be interrupted; this book had to be devoured whole. And that's exactly what I did.

So now about the book: let me introduce Harriet Scott, our fiercely independent heroine. She's the daughter of famous adventurers and grew up travelling the world on the environmental flagship The Watch.  

Now, meet Commander Per Amundsen, the Norwegian naval officer and living breathing action hero who rescues Harriet after The Watch sinks in Antarctica. He's not happy about it though. In fact, he downright resents her for it as he had to abandon his own vessel, and own research, to rescue her. He's furious. He demands compensation. And so begins the wonderful, contemporary romance that is In at the Deep End

As you can tell, there's no insta-love here, no instant weakening of the knees. Instead, what we have is witty conversation, simmering tension (yes, sexual as well), and a cast of characters that are just like grandma's hugs: warm, comforting and you can't get enough of them. And that's just the way I love my romances.

If it isn't already clear, I absolutely loved this book! Penelope's writing is invigorating and engaging, and it's refreshing to not have a hero who's typically American, English or Russian. This is my first romance with a Norwegian love interest, and now all I want to do is rummage through bookstores and scour the internet for more romances with Norwegian heroes. Just between you and me, I'm so thankful Penelope has been offered a two-book deal...

Georgina Penney (author of The Barbershop Girl, Fly in Fly Out, and Summer Harvest)

This was such a satisfying, fun read. I was asked if I'd like to review this book a little while ago and was super busy at the time but the premise intrigued me. Thankfully I said yes because I had so much fun following Harriet's journey. I immediately identified with her and loved how she held her own, staying true to herself, leading to a wonderfully satisfying ending. I love a great back story and Harriet's was unique and interesting.

This felt like such a right book for now, with a heroine and hero who meet each other half way... after some great conflict. Per is a fantastic hero and I loved that he wasn't conventionally American or English.

The humour is fantastic and Janu's writing style is immediately engaging. This felt fresh, real and a welcome literary escape from the world at large!


Eek, where to start?! This is one of my favourite reads so far this year. The sort of book I keep on hand for when I’m bored or need a bit of a pick me up. I can open it to anywhere and just start reading and sink back into the story ...

There are just books that tick all your boxes and come along at the right time and this is one of them. For me it was just a really well executed story with two main characters that sizzled and some good supporting characters as well. I cannot wait for Penelope Janu’s next book……especially as it’s going to feature Per’s identical twin brother! But while I wait for that, I think I’ll be re-reading this one a few more times!

Read the entire review by clicking HERE

Talking Books

In At The Deep End by Penelope Janu was a surprise awesome read. I'm glad it was recommended to me and it has been added to my fave reads for 2017. Harriet and Per were completely attention grabbing together and the plot was a stand out. Emotional, shocking, turbulent, thought-provoking and unputdownable. This was a story I could read again and again and I would not tire of the characters. Both Harriet (Harry) and Per (Polarman) were magic to read. It really was a feel good read and a story that this reader finished with gusto and had me frowning and smiling through to the conclusion :)

Mary-Anne O'Connor (author of Gallipoli Street, and Worth Fighting For)

Stayed up late last night to finish this wonderful novel- very engaging. The backstory floats artfully into the main plotline and I was a little in love with the romantic lead Per by the end. Very enjoyable to read a book set in Sydney's Northern Beaches which were beautifully captured. Looking forward to Janu's next one!

Lauren Keegan (The Australian Bookshelf Blog)

This debut novel by Penelope Janu was a pleasant surprise. An uncorrected proof copy turned up unexpectedly and I actually planned to decline reviewing it due to other commitments. I rarely read romantic comedies or women’s fiction novels these days. I decided to read the first page just to get a feel for the writing and found reading the entire first chapter. I’m often wary of reading novels written in first POV but in this novel I completely forgot about it. Janu places the reader immediately in the action and into the mindset of the protagonist, Harriet “Harry” Scott.

The simplest way for me to describe the two main characters: Harry is a grown up Bindi Irwin and and Commander Per Amundsen (aka polarman) is like Aquaman. It makes for an interesting read! That’s just on the surface however, Janu manages to flesh out both of these characters (even Per which is difficult to do from a first person viewpoint) who are both flawed but also very likeable.

Read the entire review by clicking HERE


Darry Fraser (author of Daughter of the Murray)

Penelope Janu’s In At The Deep End was a delightful read from beginning to end.
In heroine Harriet’s first person POV, I found myself immersed in the plot driven by the fears of courageous people, by the fall-out of the missing links of an ageing and ill mind, and the honour bestowed on legacy, and on the truth.
The changes in the relationship between Harriet and the hero (real action-man hero) Per, were subtle, succinct and signposted. The result is a highly entertaining, educational and refreshing read that doesn’t fail to satisfy.
I thoroughly enjoyed Janu’s bracing and crisp style and look forward to the next story. 
Bring it on, Penelope