Title: On the Same Page
Author: Penelope Janu
Published: 1st December 2018
Publisher: XO Romance
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Sometimes a girl just has to do what’s in her heart …
By day Miles Franklin, named after the famous author, is a successful lawyer. But by night she writes historical romance novels under the pen name Emma Browning. When Miles’s assistant covertly enters her boss’s novel in one of Australia’s biggest literary awards—and it wins—Miles’s perfectly ordered world is torn apart.
Lars Kristensen smells a rat. As the CEO of Iconic International, the company publishing Miles’s prize-winning novel, he’s determined to meet the author and uncover her true identity.
But Miles is equally determined to protect her privacy—and to keep writing—even if it means mastering pole dancing, and choreographing a love scene in the back of a horse-drawn carriage … Well, she is a romance writer, after all.
Miles has the grit to keep her secret, but Lars has the smouldering looks and arrogance of any romantic hero she has ever imagined.
Hmm. Sometimes a girl just has to turn the page …
On the Same Page is a delightful romantic comedy featuring a lead with an alter ego as a lawyer by day and a historical romance writer by night. On the Same Page was the recipient of the 2017 XO Romance Prize and as a result, it received a publishing contract, allowing it to be released into the hands of avid romance readers. This is an enjoyable and entertaining comedy of errors read, with a side serve of romance, friendship and literature references gently weaned throughout.
On the Same Page considers what is important to us. For Miles, the lead of the novel, her finest achievement is her career as a lawyer, or maybe not. Miles has a true love for the written word and she channels this in to composing historical romance novels, which she pens incognito, as ‘Emma Browning’. Miles has a carefully ordered world, but this comes crashing down in a spectacular fashion when Pippy, Miles’s assistant, enters one of Emma’s novels in a literary competition. The complications begin when Emma wins. Miles is faced with a problem, she must step out of the shadows and reveal to the world that she is Emma Browning. The CEO of the company that is publishing the winning novel penned by Miles/Emma, seems relentless in his pursuit of having the author reveal her true identity and make a public appearance. Miles has worked hard to protect her identity as an undercover romance writer. She is reluctant to change the order of things, she wants to retain her privacy and to continue to work under a guise. A series of mishaps occurs as Miles strives to protect her real identity, but will the CEO of Iconic International finally get what he wants?
On the Same Page is my second experience of the work of Australian contemporary fiction novelist Penelope Janu and it was so nice to return to her writing. What I immediately loved about On the Same Page was the whole concept of this novel, a historical romance writer working undercover and practicing as a successful lawyer in the day. Penelope Janu has devised such a great initial plot device and it immediately appealed to this romance reader. I am sure On the Same Page will inspire many budding writers with day job in completely different fields to give writing a try! I also adored the literary references in the novel, which were carefully interwoven through the book.
As Miles/Emma is a romance writer I really appreciated the excerpts of her work included between the pages of the book. It gives the audience an excellent feel for Emma’s passion and her direction as a talented romance novelist. I looked forward to each of these segments in the novel and the inclusion of Emma’s prose from her novels provided a good contrast to events happening in Miles’s life. It was a small treat to get an insight into the life of a successful romance novelist, particularly as Janu highlights the complications, as well as the highlights of this profession. I also liked how Janu used On the Same Page and Emma’s profession as a regency style novelist to break down some of our assumptions about the value of romance literature. On the Same Page works to draw our attention to the worth of historical romance and how it can stand up against novels that are more literary or highbrow.
Onto the heroine of the story, Miles/Emma. She is a complicated soul, but I did feel a great deal of empathy for her. Miles’s family background isn’t great, her parents are literary snobs and have absolutely zero tolerance for her interest in historical romance. In fact, we learn that they sent dear Miles to psychologist when she was younger, after they discovered her reading historical romance novels! As a result Miles has become quite introverted, she lacks in confidence and she has no ability to stand up to her parents for what she believes in. As the novel progresses, we see to what extent Miles will go to in order to protect the revelation of her true identity as Emma. This is where the humour steps in, as well as moments where I felt truly sorry for Miles. By the close of the novel, although I feel Miles did not grow as much as I would have liked as a character, the process was enlightening.
On the Same Page is essentially a good hearted romance novel. In fact, there is romance littered all the way through the novel. The will they/won’t they style romance between Miles and Lars, the big name publisher CEO, was very well written. I found myself chuckling away as well as cheering these two individuals on! Lars was well rendered by Janu, he has a slight Mr Darcy appeal, he was forthright, a little brooding and determined. He has a chivalrous moment towards the end of the novel that pulled me closer to him and made me see that he was truly a romantic hero! Meanwhile, some light hearted fun and humour came in the form of good friend Jack and their escapades while Miles works to fully immerse herself in the art of romance writing, it was fun!
All in all, On the Same Page is a book filled with witty banter, a touch of swoon, clever writing, some memorable literary references and a good deal of romance. Put it on the top of your list if you are a romance reader or have aspirations to pen your very own novel, just the like heroine of this novel, Miles.
P.S. I am in love with the front cover of On the Same Page, a reader surrounded by a garden of daisies = perfect!
On the Same Page by Penelope Janu will be published on 1st December 2018 XO Romance. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of On the Same Page, Penelope Janu visit here
On the Same Page is book #141 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge.
*Thanks extended to the author, Penelope Janu, for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.