Hertfordshire authors shortlisted for Romantic Novel Awards

Living Magazines Jules Wake

Jules Wake, from Tring (pictured), and Sophie Pembroke, from Royston, have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s prestigious 2021 Romantic Novel Awards. The winners of the awards will be presented by actor and presenter Larry Lamb in a digital event on Monday 8 March.

The RNA’s awards are the only national literary prizes that recognise excellence in the genre of romantic fiction. In 2021 they comprise the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, the Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award, the Romantic Comedy Novel Award, the Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award, the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers, the Romantic Saga Award, the Fantasy Romantic Novel Award, the Libertà Shorter Romantic Novel Award and the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award.

Novelist Mike Gayle will also be presented with the 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award, in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the field of romantic fiction.

Jules Wake, from Tring, is one of 9 finalists in the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award category with her novel The Spark, published by One More Chapter, HarperCollins.

When Jess and Sam lock eyes at a party, a spark ignites. The spark. But love at first sight isn’t like the movies, especially when Sam’s ex, Victoria, is determined to make their honeymoon period a living hell. Is love at first sight enough?

Jules said, ‘I’m a huge advocate of the RNA. It is a wonderful organisation and I’m thrilled to be shortlisted in what has been a grim old year. It is a great honour.’

Sophie Pembroke, from Royston, is one of 6 finalists in The Libertà Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award category with her novel Second Chance for the Single Mum, published by Mills & Boon True Love.

In Sophie’s novel, Gwen Phillips buries her pain, focusing on her daughter and her late husband’s Trust. Until maverick rugby legend Ryan Phillips returns, determined to live up to his estranged brother’s golden reputation. Will Gwen give him the chance to bring joy back into her life?

Sophie said, ‘I grew up in Wales and my family still live there, so I have a strong connection to Welsh traditions – and a great love of rugby, which is a main theme in the book. The book came about because my editor and I initially bonded over Welsh rugby, and I promised her one day I’d write her a rugby book. It took a few years to find the right story, but I did – and that’s why it’s dedicated to her. I’m so thrilled to be shortlisted – especially with a book that is so close to my heart in many ways.’

Since its inception in 1960 the RNA has promoted excellence in romantic fiction and RNA Chair, Imogen Howson, commented, ‘This year’s shortlists showcase, yet again, the wonderful variety of romantic fiction, with books from publishers large and small, from some authors who are household names and others who may well be the next big thing. In difficult times, the sales of romantic fiction rise, and these books — with all their humour, drama, excitement, and romance — remind us exactly why.’

The Category Shortlists (authors are listed alphabetically):

The Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award

  • Cow Girl, Kirsty Eyre, HarperCollins UK
  • The Bookshop of Second Chances, Jackie Fraser, Simon & Schuster
  • The Silent Treatment, Abbie Greaves, Century, Cornerstone
  • This Is Not a Love Story, Mary Hargreaves, Trapeze
  • A New Life for Ariana Byrne, Liz Hurley, Hera Books
  • The Authenticity Project, Clare Pooley, Bantam Press

The Libertà Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award

  • A Will, a Wish and a Wedding, Kate Hardy, Mills & Boon True Love
  • The Warrior Knight and the Widow, Ella Matthews, Mills & Boon Historical
  • The Day That Changed Everything, Catherine Miller, Bookouture
  • Second Chance for the Single Mum, Sophie Pembroke, Mills & Boon True Love
  • The Return of the Disappearing Duke, Lara Temple, Mills & Boon Historical
  • Cinderella and the Surgeon, Scarlet Wilson, Mills & Boon Medical

The Romantic Saga Award

  • The Girl from the Tanner’s Yard, Diane Allen, Pan
  • The Variety Girls, Tracy Baines, Ebury
  • The Ops Room Girls, Vicki Beeby, Canelo
  • Bobby’s War, Shirley Mann, Bonnier Books UK
  • The Orphan’s Daughter, Sandy Taylor, Bookouture
  • Secrets of the Lavender Girls, Kate Thompson, Hodder & Stoughton

The Romantic Comedy Novel Award

  • The Garden of Forgotten Wishes, Trisha Ashley, Bantam Press
  • Someday at Christmas, Lizzie Byron, Hodder & Stoughton
  • Christmas at the Island Hotel, Jenny Colgan, Sphere, Little, Brown
  • One Winter’s Night, Kiley Dunbar, Hera Books
  • Sunny Days and Sea Breezes, Carole Matthews, Sphere, Little, Brown
  • The Switch, Beth O’Leary, Quercus

The Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award

  • The Forgotten Sister, Nicola Cornick, HQ
  • The House by the Sea, Louise Douglas, Boldwood Books
  • Death Comes to Cornwall, Kate Johnson, Dash Digital, Orion
  • The Twins, Jane Lark, One More Chapter, HarperCollins
  • Escape to the Little Chateau, Marie Laval, Choc Lit

The Fantasy Romantic Novel Award

  • Echoes of the Runes, Christina Courtenay, Headline Review
  • The Start of Us, Hannah Emery, One More Chapter, HarperCollins
  • The Reluctant Witch, Amelia Hopegood, Independently Published
  • The Cornish Connection, Amanda James, Independently Published
  • Someday in Paris, Olivia Lara, Aria, Head of Zeus

The Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award

  • Where We Belong, Anstey Harris, Simon & Schuster
  • My One True North, Milly Johnson, Simon & Schuster
  • One Day in Summer, Shari Low, Boldwood Books
  • Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You, Annie Lyons, One More Chapter, HarperCollins
  • Christmas for Beginners, Carole Matthews, Sphere, Little, Brown
  • The Little Shop in Cornwall, Helen Pollard, Bookouture
  • Mix Tape, Jane Sanderson, Bantam Press
  • The Takeover, T L Swan, Montlake
  • The Spark, Jules Wake, One More Chapter, HarperCollins

The Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award

  • Heartbreak in the Valleys, Francesca Capaldi, Hera Books
  • The Coming of the Wolf, Elizabeth Chadwick, Sphere, Little, Brown
  • Spirited, Julie Cohen, Orion Fiction
  • Daniel’s Daughter, Victoria Cornwall, Choc Lit
  • The French Wife, Diney Costeloe, Aria, Head of Zeus
  • People Like Us, Louise Fein, Aria, Head of Zeus
  • The Lost Lights of St Kilda, Elisabeth Gifford, Corvus
  • Rags-to-Riches Wife, Catherine Tinley, Mills & Boon Historical
  • The Skylark’s Secret, Fiona Valpy, Lake Union Publishing

The Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award

  • Sing Me a Secret, Julie Houston, Aria, Head of Zeus
  • Christmas Wishes, Sue Moorcroft, Avon
  • Sunny Days and Sea Breezes, Carole Matthews, Sphere, Little, Brown
  • A Perfect Cornish Escape, Phillipa Ashley, Avon
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, Josie Silver, Penguin