On Tuesday the shortlist for the RoNA’s (The Romantic Novel Awards) was announced, and WOW, what a selection! The competition has been SO tough this year because there have been simply hundreds of brilliant romance novels doing the rounds. However, I think that the shortlist comprises of a fantastic and diverse selection & it’s going so be so difficult to choose a winner from each shortlist.
If you’re not familiar with the RoNA’s then basically there are six categories; Contemporary Romantic Novel, Epic Romantic Novel, Historical Romantic Novel, Romantic Comedy Novel, Young Adult Romantic Novel and the RoNA Rose Novel (for shorter and category romance) – with six authors shortlisted for each one.
There is going to be a ceremony held in London on the 16th March when the winners in each category will be announced. Then all six of the winners are up for the biggie – The Romantic Novel of the Year Award which only one lucky author can win. Past winners have included Joanna Trollope, Freya North, Rosie Thomas, JoJo Moyes and Rosamunde Pilcher.
So let’s take a look at the fabulous authors & their books which have been shortlisted for 2015:
♥ The Contemporary Romantic Novel category is for mainstream romantic novels set post-1960 and includes genres such as chick lit, paranormal and romantic suspense.
Julie Cohen, Where Love Lies, Bantam Press
Jenny Colgan, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop, Sphere (Little, Brown)
Lucy Dillon, A Hundred Pieces of Me, Hodder & Stoughton
Ciara Geraghty, Now That I’ve Found You, Hodder & Stoughton
Jill Mansell, The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, Headline Review
Katy Regan, The Story of You, Harper Fiction
WOW. This is probably my favourite category & I would endure sleepless nights if I had to pick just one winner from this category. If I was told that I absolutely had to pick a winner or I’d never get to read a book ever again (blackmail *cough*) then I’d go for The Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell and (yes, there’s two!!) Now That I’ve Found You by Ciara Geragthy…AND (OK, there’s 3!) Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen. They were all five-shoe-rated books for me, so they’re my natural winners.
♥ The Epic Romantic Novel category contains serious issues or themes, including gritty, multi-generational stories.
Elizabeth Buchan, I Can’t Begin to Tell You, Penguin Michael Joseph
Barbara Erskine, The Darkest Hour, Harper Fiction
Emma Fraser, We Shall Remember, Sphere (Little Brown)
Ella Harper, Pieces of You, Avon
Rosanna Ley, Return to Mandalay, Quercus
Alison McQueen, Under the Jewelled Sky, Orion Fiction
My winner in this category is Return to Mandalay by Rosanna Ley. A work colleague recommended this book to me when it came out back in May last year (before I started blogging) and I was completely enchanted by this book, it really was stunning. Admittedly I haven’t got round to reading Pieces of You by Ella Harper yet (It’s been on my TBR for what feels like forever, I think I’ll have to bump it up a few places!) but I have heard amazing things about this novel from other bloggers, so I’m certain this will be a really strong contender too.
♥ The Historical Romantic Novel category is for novels set in a period before 1960.
Charlotte Betts, The Spice Merchant’s Wife, Piatkus, (Little, Brown)
Stephen Burke, The Good Italian, Hodder & Stoughton
Marina Fiorato, Beatrice and Benedick, Hodder & Stoughton
Hazel Gaynor, The Girl Who Came Home, William Morrow, (Harper Collins)
Susan Lanigan, White Feathers, Brandon (O’Brien Press)
Isabel Wolff, Ghostwritten, Harper Fiction
I must admit that I wasn’t the biggest reader of historical fiction before I started blogging, but now it’s a genre that I’ve grown to really enjoy, so I couldn’t make a fair choice for this category. Going on reviews I’ve read and through chatting with other book-loving pals, Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff sounds pretty amazing & is one I will definitely be checking out.
♥ The Romantic Comedy Novel is for consistently humorous or amusing novels.
David Atkinson, Love Byte, Buried River Press
Jane Costello, The Time of Our Lives, Simon & Schuster
Lucy-Anne Holmes, Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy, Sphere (Little, Brown)
Milly Johnson, The Teashop on the Corner, Simon & Schuster
Mhairi McFarlane, It’s Not Me, It’s You, Harper Fiction
Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice, The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me, Corgi
OhMyGoodness this is a tricky category. I love all of these authors, the only one I am yet to try is David Atkinson (sorry, David! You’re now on my TBR!) Ach. I can’t do it, it’s just too difficult. I really don’t envy the panelists making this decision. I’m was thinking Jane Costello, but then I love Mhairi McFarlane, and don’t get me started on Milly Johnson. Lucy-Anne Holmes is pretty awesome too and I really enjoyed The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice. OH. I. CAN’T.CHOOSE.
♥ The Young Adult Romantic Novel features protagonists who are teenagers or young adults.
Cat Clarke, A Kiss in the Dark, Quercus
Keren David, Salvage, Atom, (Little, Brown)
Imogen Howson, Unravel, Quercus
Sarra Manning, The Worst Girlfriend in the World, Atom, (Little, Brown)
Joss Stirling, Misty Falls, Oxford University Press
Joss Stirling, Struck, Oxford University Press
I didn’t struggle as much this category as I have a favourite right away & that has to be The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning. I read this book just as I was getting into reading YA and it was an absolute corker of a novel. Definitely one to check out if you like a good funny, entertaining and un-put-downable story.
♥ The RoNA Rose Award recognises the best in category/series and shorter romance that focus on developing a love affair between the hero and heroine.
Louise Allen, Scandal’s Virgin, Harlequin Mills & Boon Historical
Caroline Anderson, Risk of a Lifetime, Mills & Boon Medical Romance
Fiona Harper, Taming Her Italian Boss, Harlequin Romance/Mills & Boon Cherish
Margaret McPhee, The Gentleman Rogue, Harlequin Mills & Boon Historical
Carol Townend, Unveiling Lady Clare, Harlequin Mills & Boon Historical
Scarlet Wilson, The Heir of the Castle, Harlequin Romance/Mills & Boon Cherish
Sadly I’m not massively familiar with the nominees in this category so I will leave the judging to the experts and add them ALL onto my TBR…
PHEW! What a selection… To find out more about the RoNA’s visit the Romantic Novelists’ Association website.
Wishing all of the authors involved the best of luck!