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RNA Awards 2023 Shortlists Announced

31 January 2023

The 2023 shortlists for the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) awards, which honour the very best in the romance genre, have been announced. You can find more information about Ulverscroft's listed titles below.

The Jackie Collins Award For Romantic Thrillers
For stories featuring a substantial thriller, suspense, mystery or crime story, alongside or fully entwined with a romantic story. The romantic element should still be very strong throughout but the main storyline may be less of a traditional love story.  Novels set in any time period can be entered for this category.

My Other Husband by Dorothy Koomson
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in July 2023.
Cleo Forsum is a bestselling novelist turned scriptwriter whose TV series, 'The Baking Detective' is a huge success. Writing is all she's ever wanted to do, and baking and murder stories have proved a winning combination. But now she has decided to walk away from it all - including divorcing her husband, Wallace - before her past secrets catch up with her. As Cleo drafts the final ever episodes of the series, people she knows start getting hurt. And it's soon clear that someone is trying to frame her for murder. She thinks she knows why, but Cleo can't tell the police or prove her innocence. Because then she'd have to confess about her other husban...A series of terrifying murders. A set of complex lies. And a woman with no way to clear her name.

A Murder Of Crows by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett
Published in Large Print in May 2023.
Dr Nell Ward is an ecologist, not a detective. But when she's the prime suspect in a murder, only her unique set of skills can help to clear her name...

In the sleepy village of Cookingdean, Nell is busy working in the grounds of a local manor house. Whilst inspecting an old tunnel, she did not expect to overhear a murder. As the only person with any clue as to what happened, she soon finds herself in the middle of the investigation.

Desperate to find answers, Nell, along with her colleague Adam, set out to solve the crime, using their talents as ecologists to uncover details no one else would notice. But it soon becomes clear that playing Agatha Christie is much harder than it might at first appear...

The Serial Killer's Girl by L.H. Stacey
Published in Large PrintCD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in April 2022.
Does a killer's blood run in the family?
Lexi Jakes thought she could run from her past.
But when her biological mother is found dead, strangled with a red silk scarf and holding a chess piece, Lexi knows that her worst nightmare has come true. Because the murder has all the hallmarks of her own serial killer father, renown strangler Peter Graves.
Now with her own precious daughter's life in danger, Lexi will do anything to keep her child safe...she is her father's daughter after all.

The Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award
For the best romantic novel by a first-time author. Entries may represent any aspect of the romantic genre.

Always By Your Side by Julie Haworth
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in November 2022.
When schoolteacher Rose loses her job at a London primary school, her confidence takes a knock. Worse still, her stockbroker fiancé, Ollie, sees it as the perfect opportunity for her to join his firm, which only adds to the feelings Rose has that their relationship might be coming to an end. An unexpected phone call, and an elderly aunt who's taken a fall, means Rose must drop everything and return to Blossom Heath, the Sussex village she grew up in. Rose decides to stay in Blossom Heath for the summer and finds herself reconnecting to the village life of her childhood in more ways than one. So when her London life comes calling, Rose is faced with an impossible choice . . . to return to the high-pressure life of her past, or embrace the joy of a new life in the country.

The Christmas/Festive Holiday Romantic Novel Award
For the best romantic novel set in the winter festive season featuring Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Yule/New Year etc.

Merrily Ever After by Cathy Bramley
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in December 2022.
Merry has always wanted a family to spend Christmas with, and this year her dream comes true as she says 'I do' to father-of-two Cole. But as she juggles her rapidly-growing business, wedding planning and the two new children in her life, her dream begins to unravel. Emily is desperately waiting for the New Year to begin, so she can finally have a fresh start. She has always put her family first, leaving little time for happiness and love. When her beloved father Ray moves into a residential home, she discovers a photograph in his belongings that has the potential to change everything. As past secrets come to light, will this be a magical Christmas for Emily and Merry to remember?

Christmas With His Ballerina by Jessica Gilmore
Published in Large Print in April 2023.
It's never too late...

...to find for ever!

In this A Five-Star Family Reunion story, widower Joshua is excited about his first family Christmas with his grown-up children in years. While getting his Vermont cabin festivity-ready, he meets temporary neighbour ex-ballerina Rebecca. Escaping from the press, she needs a distraction from her high-profile divorce, and offers to help. Romance is not on either of their agendas, and yet they find something completely unexpected in one another... This Christmas, will they discover love - again?

This Year's For Me And You by Emily Bell
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook in March 2023.
Hannah and Celeste have been best friends since they were eighteen, when they made a pact to spend every New Year's Eve together.

From Dublin to London, the two are inseparable: that is, until tragedy strikes.

When Celeste discovers a list of Hannah's New Year's Resolutions, she is determined to complete them. Little does she know that doing so will reunite her with someone from her past...

Through Hannah's last wishes Celeste begins to fall in love with life again, one adventure at a time.
But could the biggest adventure of all be falling in love again?

The Shorter Romantic Novel Award
For shorter romantic novels, serials or novellas. These may range from magazine serials, short stories of no less than 30,000 words to shorter novels of no more than 70,000 words approximately. Entries may represent any aspect of the romantic genre and can be set in any time period.

The Earl's Mysterious Lady by Louise Allen
Published in Large Print in December 2022.
An unexpected reunion...
With the Earl she left at the altar...

Viola fled her arranged marriage to Guy Thurlow, Earl of Easton, right at the altar steps. Now she is Cressida Williams, and greatly changed - so much so that when Guy finds her trespassing on his neglected estate he doesn't recognise his runaway bride. As they work together to restore his grounds, desire flares. But she must deny his temptation - because it would be socially ruinous if he discovers who she really is...

The Summer At Seaspray Cottage by Angela Britnell
Published in uLibrary eAudiobook in August 2022.
Hannah and Celeste have been best friends since they were eighteen, when they made a pact to spend every New Year's Eve together.

From Dublin to London, the two are inseparable: that is, until tragedy strikes.

When Celeste discovers a list of Hannah's New Year's Resolutions, she is determined to complete them. Little does she know that doing so will reunite her with someone from her past...

The Shopgirl's Forbidden Love by Jenni Fletcher
Published in Large Print in November 2022.
From forbidden love
To for ever?

Belles biscuit shop is more like a home than a place of work for Nancy MacQueen. The shared attraction between her and James Redbourne, the handsome owner of a nearby store, has been simmering for years, but she's refused to trust his feelings for her. After all, they're not remotely in the same social class. Until one day Nancy can no longer deny her love-only to find he's become engaged to someone else!

Their Surprise Safari Reunion by Ella Hayes
Published in Large Print in January 2023.
Will the truth...
...finally give them for ever?

When travel blogger extraordinaire Maddie is invited on safari, she can't get on the private jet fast enough! It's the perfect way to escape London and her painful past. Until, to her amazement, Maddie finds Kaden Barr waiting for her in the bushveld. He's the guy Maddie never got to say goodbye to - and the mystery owner of Masoka game reserve. Maddie's spent her whole life running... This time, will she stay with Kaden?

Stranded With My Forbidden Billionaire by Lucy King
Published in Large Print in May 2023.
My heart is off-limits...

...but our attraction is off the charts!

My brother's best friend Nick Morgan has always hated me. Then I won millions in the lottery. As my past has left me with no one to trust, super-rich financier Nick is the only person I can rely on to help me. And he's demanded I join him in paradise...on his Indian Ocean island!

But no sooner do I arrive than a tropical storm has us stuck together - indefinitely! Making me aware that the hostility between us that's kept Nick out-of-bounds is morphing into a dangerously irresistible desire that I didn't see coming...

The Romantic Saga Award
For novels predominantly set in the past (pre 1970), usually featuring characters overcoming social pressures or hardships alongside or fully entwined with a romantic story thread. These may be part of a series but must be able to stand alone for readers who won’t have read the ones that went before.

A Child Of The Dales by Diane Allen
Published in Large Print in March 2023.
Abandoned as a baby on the steps of a remote inn, Ruby Blake has been raised by the innkeeper's wife Martha Metcalfe, unknowing of the family searching for her. One wild stormy night, Ruby is reunited with her long-lost father, who wants to whisk her away to Banksgill Farm for a happy ending with her true family. Feeling betrayed by Martha, Ruby follows her father for the chance of a new life.

However, for being born of gypsy blood, Ruby is quickly cast out by everyone but the charming stable hand Tom Adams. Struck with loneliness in a village of people who find ways to make her miserable, she seeks friendship and love in Tom. But as their relationship blossoms, Ruby is pursued by a local miner - and when rumours begin to spread, she feels more lost and confused than ever...

A New Start For The Wrens by Vicki Beeby
Published in Large Print in July 2023.
Following a humiliating experience involving the man she thought she'd marry, Iris Tredwick signs up to the Wrens in order to escape - and please her mother by finding the right sort of man. After a bumpy start, she befriends outspoken Mary and dreamer Sally as they are sent to their first posting in Orkney.

There she meets mechanic Rob, whose flirtatious nature both charms and confounds strait-laced Iris. Much more appropriate for her is local doctor Stewart - if only she felt the same spark for him as she does for Rob...

As Iris, Mary and Sally work to interpret signals from incoming ships, they realise the enemy is somehow one step ahead of their manoeuvres, dropping sea mines under the cover of darkness. Could there be a spy on the island? And can the Wrens prevent disaster striking before it's too late?

Courage For The Cornish Girls by Betty Walker
Published in Large Print in November 2022.
Cornwall, 1942. Yearning for adventure, Demelza longs to join the fire wardens, and unexpected gunfire on Penzance Beach gives her an opportunity to get stuck in.

On hand to help the wounded beachgoers, Lily's nursing skills draw admiration, and she's offered an exciting new position in the hospital in Penzance.

Meanwhile, unsatisfied at work, Lily's Aunt Violet agrees to take in three evacuees rescued on the beach, though they turn out to be more of a handful than she bargained for.

But even as the war rages around them, the biggest obstacle facing each woman turns out to be a challenge of the heart. Can the Cornish Girls support one another in opening up to love...?

The Contemporary Romantic Novel Award
The Little Shop Of Hidden Treasures by Holly Hepburn
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in February 2022.
When Hope loses her husband, she fears her happiest days are behind her. With her only connection to London broken, she moves home to York to be near her family and to begin to build a new life. Taking a job at the antique shop she has always admired, she finds herself crossing paths with two very different men. Will, who has recently become the guardian to his niece after the tragic death of her parents. And Ciaran, who she enlists to help solve the mystery of an Egyptian antique. Two men who represent two different happy endings. But can she trust herself to choose the right man? And will that bring her everything she really needs?

A Cottage Full Of Secrets by Jane Lovering
Published in Large PrintCD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in February 2022.
Cottage Two, Bracken Ridge Farm sits at the end of a pitted track, with the glorious Yorkshire moors stretching behind it.

Just a simple two up, two down, the cottage holds the promise of a new start for two very different women, but it is also full of secrets.

Fifty years ago, newly-wed Stella is relishing making the little cottage a happy home. But for all the lovingly handmade curtains, and the hot dinners ready on the table for her husband, Stella's dreams of married life jar painfully with the truth.

Fifty years later, the cottage is a new beginning for Tamzin. Determined to get away from her previous life, she makes the move to the wild and vast Yorkshire countryside.
When Tamzin finds a sepia photo of a woman, Stella, standing in the cottage's garden, there's a sadness in her eyes that Tamzin recognises. As the cottage reveals more of its secrets, Tamzin is desperate to find out whether Stella got her happy ending. And as she gradually makes new friends, and starts to win over her mysterious neighbour Euan, Tamzin dares to dream about her own happy ending too...

Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies by Ali McNamara
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in August 2022.
Meteorologist Sky Matthews does not like surprises. Sky monitors her life like she does the weather, carefully and with a scientific eye. So, when she misses out on her dream job abroad and finds herself taking a position on an island off the Cornish harbour town of St Felix instead, she feels completely at sea. Worse still, she has to work alongside TV weatherman Sonny Stevens, who barely knows his storms from his tsunamis. It doesn't take long for Sky to become enchanted by the weather patterns over St Felix. Sonny is convinced they link to local folklore, but Sky knows her science too well for that. Until she meets Walter, a local weather watcher with no qualifications beyond a lifetime of experience and Sky is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the weather, herself . . . and Sonny.

Merrily Ever After by Cathy Bramley
Published in Large PrintCD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in July 2022.
Running Heritage View Stables is everything Hazel ever dreamed of. She loves working with the horses and managing the business with her brother. But after a terrible incident, she's not sure whether she'll ever be able to put things back the way they were.

Gus is ready to start over. He's moved him and his ten-year-old daughter Abigail to Heritage Cove, where he's opening his own vet practice. Everything is falling into place, especially as he watches Abigail start to come out of her shell for the first time since the accident.

Neither Hazel nor Gus is looking for love, but could they each be what the other needs? And is happiness even a possibility when their pasts won't let them go?
Join new friends and old, as summer comes to Heritage Cove.

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