Paula Xiberras

Harlequin novels have certainly adapted over the years. From the early days of tamer romances with an innocent female protagonist seeking a romance with a suave hero or prince, to the very contemporary take with the heroine having her own agenda that might or might not include the hero.

The modern heroine doesn’t mind a little of the inevitable sparring along the way. So it is in Penelope Janu’s novel’ In At The Deep End’ two likeable protagonists are in at the deep end when they become deeply distracted by each other. We are presented with some very heated scenes as the two converge.
Harriet is also in at the deep end of sadness after her parents, celebrated environmental activists are lost in a tragic accident. Harriet is sailing alone on her ship when it flounders in the Antarctic and a nifty Norwegian sailor named Per rescues her giving her an ultimatum of financing her a new boat if she learns to swim again, under his guidance! The situation is made even more harrowing as Harriet suffered the loss of her parents at sea and she is psychologically unprepared to swim again.

In spite of Harriet’s sadness the book contains plenty of humour. Penelope tells me she has been teaching young adults until her recent retirement and she is optimistic about the new generation. This optimism is very evident in the story of the talented and intelligent albeit argumentative and occasionally frustrating, Harriet and Per. Penelope loves storytelling because she says within it you can do anything. With her storytelling gift and the discipline and writing skills from her academic career, writing fiction that started as a hobby now becomes a new career path for Penelope.

“In at the deep end” is out now published by Harlequin