Author Guest Posts

When enemies become lovers … author Penelope Janu on her favourite examples of the Enemies to Lovers trope!


When enemies become lovers … author Penelope Janu on her favourite examples of the Enemies to Lovers trope!

Penelope Janu considers popular romance novels and movies to find an answer to the burning question: ‘Seriously though, how could that ever work out?’

Do you ever read the first chapter of a romance novel and think, how can these two ever find a way to fall in love? In Sunshine Through the Rain, small-town vet Primrose Cartwright and Scottish specialist anaesthetist vet Blake Sinclair are forced to overcome so many obstacles that sometimes I worried that they’d never work things out. So, in the spirit of a true romantic, I re-read and re-watched quite a few of my favourite books and movies to convince myself that, irrespective of a rocky start to romance, love will find a way …

RELATED: Read a sneak peek from Sunshine Through The Rain


10 Things I Hate About You (1999) is a brilliant retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, and features Heath Ledger as Patrick and Julia Stiles as Kat. Kat’s younger sister has been prohibited from dating until Kat does, so Patrick asks her out with an ulterior motive, and they discover they have a lot more in common than they ever thought they would. The dialogue in this movie is fantastic, and there’s a hilarious standout scene featuring Heath Ledger singing along to a marching band. One of my favourite movies!


Johnny (Patrick Swayze) and Baby (Jennifer Grey) are an iconic couple in the classic movie Dirty Dancing (1987), but their different social and financial circumstances add an extra level of difficulty to the resolution of their romance. In some romances, the characters work in a similar profession—Emily Henry’s wonderful Book Lovers is a great example of this, featuring snarky publisher Nora and aggrieved editor Charlie, as is Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, where Lucy and Josh’s antagonism is exacerbated by competing to get the same job. While their professions are different in Casey McQuiston’s Red, White and Royal Blue (Alex is the US president’s son and Henry is an English prince), the characters have several issues to work through—in a very public spotlight!


The film Shrek (2001) takes misunderstandings to a whole new level when Ogre Shrek falls for Fiona—when she’s still in princess form … Hermione and Ron from the Harry Potter series of books are an unlikely couple (their childhood antagonism travels into adulthood) but it was inevitable that they’d end up together. In fact, I found this romance far more entertaining—and believable—than the romance between Harry and Ginny.


The Proposal (2009) stars Ryan Reynolds as personal assistant Andrew and Sandra Bullock as Margaret, the editor-in-chief of a publishing house. What starts off as an engagement of convenience ends up as a very satisfactory love match, largely as the result of the delightful intervention of Andrew’s family. I love this movie!


In Pride and Prejudice, it’s clear from the get-go that Elizabeth dislikes Mr Darcy, and it appears that he dislikes her, yet … the sexual tension between them is extraordinary! Lizzie and Darcy have more than their initial prejudices to work through as Darcy is wealthy and has connections, while Lizzie is poor and threatened by scandal. Nevertheless, the characters find many more reasons to be together than apart.

Like the characters in some of my favourite books and movies, Prim and Blake from Sunshine Through the Rain have many reasons (personal, professional and geographic!) to be apart, but like the best of books and movies with romance at their core, the character’s knowledge and understanding of themselves and each other deepens and … love finds a way.


Penelope Janu lives on the coast in northern Sydney with a distracting husband, a very large dog and, now they’re fully grown, six delightful children who come and go. Penelope has a passion for creating stories that explore social and environmental issues, but her novels are fundamentally a celebration of Australian characters and communities. Her first novel, In at the Deep End, came out in 2017, followed by On the Right TrackOn the Same PageUp on Horseshoe HillStarting from Scratch and Clouds on the Horizon as well as a novella, The Six Rules of Christmas. Penelope enjoys riding horses, exploring the Australian countryside and dreaming up challenging hiking adventures. Nothing makes her happier as a writer than readers falling in love with her clever, complex and adventurous heroines and heroes. She loves to hear from readers, and can be contacted at

Don’t miss Sunshine Through The Rain

For readers of Karly Lane, Fleur McDonald, Maya Linnell and Rachael Johns – a heartfelt and fresh rural romance about trust, hope and finding your place in life from an award winning and much loved author.

Country vet Primrose Cartwright knows more about heartache than most but in the close-knit community of Ballimore, she’s found a place to call home. Prim has her work and the love of her sisters, and she doesn’t need anything else – certainly not Blake Sinclair.

The new vet in town, Scotsman Blake has a love-them-and-leave-them reputation. He is curiously protective of Prim, but his privileged upbringing and jet-set life are nothing like her own. Prim has tried – and failed – at the dating game. Even if there’s a burning attraction between them, the last man she could ever trust is Blake.

Blake finds Prim fiercely independent, vulnerable, and unlike any other woman he has ever known. But Prim won’t tell him her secrets unless he tells her his own, and Blake’s pain is buried deep.

Will Prim’s determination to unravel the mystery that threatens her career bring Prim and Blake together or tear them apart? As the storm clouds gather, can Prim and Blake confront their painful pasts and create a future together? Will they find the sunshine through the rain?

Get the book here

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