2021 Vivian Award Finalist, Book Review, Comedy, Family Relationships, Forbidden, Harper Collins, Romance

Lovestruck by Bronwyn Sell


When a romantically challenged family gather at their Whitsundays resort for their first wedding in decades, Amy ‘stuck in the friend zone’ Lowery realises that her single tango-dancing mum and besotted groom-to-be dad have hotter love lives than she does.

But when she locks eyes with an alluring stranger, The Pull in her chest is undeniable. And the look in Josh Brennan’s eyes definitely says ‘more than friends’ – but not in the way she hopes.

Loner Josh is ecstatic to meet his witty stepsister-to-be and stoked that the union of their two dads comes with the lively (if chaotic) family he’s always wanted. No way will he admit to an inconvenient attraction to his insta-sister – not even to himself.

Elsewhere on the island, resident nice guy Harry is absolutely not going to fall for smart and sexy jilted bride Sophia, who is locked in the honeymoon villa trying to kickstart Operation Get Your Life Together. But a harmless flirtation never hurt anyone – right?

Throw in some sharp-witted siblings, a bevy of naval officers and a meddlesome gran determined to see at least one of her descendants happily wed, and the scene is set for a perfect storm that will leave no heart unscathed…


An amazing read and one of my favorites of the year!

Brought together by a wedding on a beautiful island off Australia, two couples are dealing with forbidden love. One couple: soon-to-be new step-siblings. One couple: a jilted bride and a man unintentionally used for holiday flings. 

The loving vibe of Amy and Harry’s family is destined to devour anyone in its wake. 

Amy is a no-nonsense, outspoken kind of girl who cannot get out of the friend-zone with guys. They treat her like a buddy. Someone to hang with. But in walks her new sexy hot firefighter stepbrother, Josh, who is thrilled to be part of her big family, but not in the way she wants.

Josh is ecstatic about being part of his father’s new family. As the only sibling of parents who barely speak to each other and an heir to millions, he has stayed out of relationships. One-night stands work for him. Then he meets his awesome new stepsister Amy who is not his usual type, “but he is into her in a dangerous way”. He promised his dad he wouldn’t go there. They found a place where all of them belong…but at what price?

Sophia is a conflicted jilted bride working on “Operation Get Your Shit Together” and “Operation Distraction”. As she tries to come to terms with her situation while on her honeymoon alone, she meets the calm and captivating Harry, the local marine biologist. Their playful and perceptive conversations are just what she needed at that moment. As they spend more time together trying to avoid their attraction and logistical incompatibility, their hearts don’t listen and she has the most important choice to make in her life.

My favorite character is the sensible and kind Harry. He’s romantic. He’s respectful. He’s every woman’s dream hero hence all the women want him for at least a little while, but he sees things in black and white…all or nothing. And, he’s doomed to fall for a woman who needs to heal from being left at the altar. Will he do the right thing for both of them?

There are so many fascinating characters in this book that I wanted to know more about. The two dads getting married, Sanjay and Geoff. Carmen, Amy’s sister. Cody and Lena, Harry’s brother and sister. Rosa, Amy’s mom. And, Nan, Amy and Harry’s grandmother. The list is long and I’m hoping there will be another book planned to satisfy my curiosity. After all, in Harry’s own words, “Fair warning–once you’re inducted into this family, you’re here for life, no matter what, and whether you like it or not”. I’m in! 😀

I love Ms. Sell’s wonderfully wacky and insightful prose (including the “Trip Reviews” before each chapter) and her strong, yet vulnerable characters. She immerses you into the moment, whether it be awkward, funny, or sexy, with conversations that you feel to your toes. I also lost count of all the times I laughed out loud at the sibling rivalry and ribbing along with the multiple cleverly-planned matchmaking attempts of a family with a love curse.  

I recommend this lovely book full of unforgettable characters, wonderful family relationships, beautiful scenery, and an ending worth waiting for. 



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Bronwyn Sell is many things—novelist, journalist, travel writer, bestselling non-fiction author, yogi, theatre nerd, soccer mum, wife, lover of wines in the sun with friends, perpetually terrified taker-of-creative-risks—but at heart she’s an eternal romantic and optimist who loves playing with words and imaginary friends. 

Her journalism and travel writing have won national awards in her native New Zealand. Her romantic thrillers (under pen-name Brynn Kelly) were published in the US, earning critical acclaim and a RITA Award™, the most coveted trophy in the romance genre.

Follow Bronwyn on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.