Congratulations to the contenders for the Romantic Saga Awards 2020

 

The Street of Broken Dreams, Tania Crosse, Aria Fiction, (Head of Zeus)
The world rejoices as WW2 draws to a close, but for some it can never end. Can dancer Cissie recover from the brutal night that destroyed her life? Does Mildred really know the man she’s engaged to marry? Can Eva, matriarch of the street, help them unite against the future?

What was your inspiration for The Street of Broken Dreams?
The novel is set in Banbury Street, Battersea, where I lived as a small child not so very long after the war, so many of my memories are intertwined within it. My father served in submarines in the fight against Japan, which inspired one thread of the book, but it was something my mother once told me that gave me the idea for Cissie’s traumatic story. I’ve had a lifelong passion for dance, and in my youth, I was a ballet student so it was inevitable that one day, I would pen a story about a dancer. Through my wonderful ballet mistress, I danced solo at Wimbledon theatre, just as Cissie does. I stayed in contact with my ballet mistress for the rest of her life. She was a big fan of my books, and it was her tales of being in repertory theatre during the war that inspired the Romaine Theatre Company in the book. Finally, the wonderful, big-hearted Eva, matriarch of the street, was influenced by two elderly ladies I knew and loved when I lived there. Eva was an important character in my previous novel, The Candle Factory Girl, also set in Banbury Street. I loved her in that book so much that I wanted to explore her more, and so I made her the linchpin of The Street of Broken Dreams. I’m so glad that I did!

How does it feel to be a contender for the Romantic Novel Awards 2020?
I can’t tell you how thrilled and elated I am! This is my fourteenth published novel and so much of myself went into it that I’m over the moon that it should be shortlisted for such a prestigious award. It really feels that this is the culmination of all the hard work I’ve put into my writing career over the years. Absolutely delighted!

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The Brighton Guest House Girls, Lesley Eames, Aria Fiction, (Head of Zeus)

Thea, Anna and Daisy forge an unbreakable friendship through adversity.Thea’s loathsome stepbrother is trying to trick her out of her inheritance of her parents’ beautiful house in the seaside town of Brighton by means of a Will which Thea believes to be forged. He gives her three months in which to leave. Afterwards she will face destitution. Anna is pregnant and grieving, her explorer fiancé lost at sea. Her violent father drives her from the family home in the back streets of London’s Bermondsey and her fiancé’s upper-class relatives cruelly reject her. Daisy is in search of independence, running from a man she doesn’t want to marry. Together the three girls set up Thea’s home as a guest house and embark on a mission to outwit her stepbrother by proving his fraud. In a race against time, nothing will turn out to be quite as it seems.

How does it feel to be a contender for the Romantic Novel Awards 2020?
I’m absolutely delighted that my ‘Brighton Guest House Girls’ have been shortlisted for this award and I’m grateful to everyone who’s made it possible, including readers, judges, organisers, sponsors and the fabulous Romantic Novelists’ Association. It’s such an honour to be shortlisted alongside so many wonderful writers. Congratulations to them all.

 

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A Ration Book Childhood, Jean Fullerton, (Corvus)
With her family struggling amidst the nightly bombing raids in London’s East End, Ida Brogan is doing her very best to keep their spirits up.
When Ida’s oldest friend Ellen returns to town, sick and in dire need of help, can Ida find a place in her heart for a little boy, one who will need a mother more than ever in these dark times?

What was your inspiration for A Ration Book Childhood?
Being married for 43 years inspired me to write A Ration Book Childhood. Romantic fiction often focuses on the whirl wind excitement of falling in love but in A Ration Book Childhood I explore what it takes to stay in love..

How does it feel to be a contender for the Romantic Novel Awards 2020?
I’m massively honoured to have been shortlisted alongside such talented authors and Saga friends.

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A Precious Gift, Rosie Goodwin, (Bonnier Books) 
Fleeing from an arranged marriage, Holly and her friend, Ivy, escape to London. Holly becomes a nurse and falls in love with a young doctor only to discover that they can never be together. Soon she finds herself working behind enemy lines in France. Will Holly survive to find happiness?

About Rosie Goodwin
Rosie Goodwin is the Sunday Times bestselling author of over thirty novels. She is the first author in the world to be allowed to follow three of Catherine Cookson’s trilogies with her own sequels. Having worked in the social services sector for many years, then fostered over 100 children, she is now a full-time novelist. Rosie lives in Nuneaton, the setting for many of her books, with her husband and their beloved dogs – she currently has 5!

How does it feel to be a contender for the Romantic Novel Awards 2020?
I am so thrilled and excited to be included in this shortlist. What an honour!

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The Secrets of the Homefront Girls, Kate Thompson, (Hodder & Stoughton)
Secrets of the Homefront Girls is a story of the courageous women of World War Two, working in the Yardley factory in East London.

‘Beauty is your Duty’ was an official propaganda campaign in 1939, encouraging women to embrace beauty and femininity despite the hardship they endured. Although England was at war, for the young women working the lipstick production line at Yardley’s cosmetics factory in East London, it was business as usual. Wearing bright red lipstick went from being considered risqué to patriotic. A slick of red was an easy way to create an accessible flash of glamour in an otherwise grey, tiring and frightening world. British firm Yardley cottoned on to this and took on the big boys of the cosmetics worlds like Max Factor, telling girls that ‘good looks and good morale are close companions, so put your best face forward’

What is the inspiration for The Secrets of the Homefront Girls?

The main story is the real East End women who are the inspiration for all my novels. To give you a fuller flavour please click this link and you can see the publicity generated by the book so far, but always open to exploring new media to continue to push this angle, http://www.katethompsonmedia.co.uk/book/secrets-of-the-homefront-girls/

How does it feel to be a contender for the Romantic Novel Awards 2020?
Staggered! What an honour to be shortlisted for this new category. I have long sung the praises of working-class East End wartime women, the women missing from the history books, so to be recognised for highlighting these vibrant social histories through my latest book, is a dream come tru

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