Romantic Novelists' Association

Jane Wenham-jones Award For Romantic Comedy Category

5 March 2022

Amber Crewe – That Jewish Thing

Amber Crewe is the romantic alter-ego of Nicole Burstein, who lives in North London with her family, multiple bichon frises, and a tortoise. In the past, Nicole has worked as a gallery attendant at the Natural History Museum, a bookseller for Waterstones, a warden at Buckingham Palace, and used to present the travel and traffic news on various radio stations, including LBC and local BBC radio. She is currently working as a customer support manager for a fintech company called GoCardless. Nicole is a keen watcher of romantic Korean dramas, is a little too obsessed with rollercoasters, and has three Blue Peter badges.

She commented, “It’s a huge honour to be shortlisted for this award. I’ve been obsessed with romantic comedies all my life: when I was fifteen I forced all my friends to come over and sit with me whilst I dissected When Harry Met Sally – it did not make me popular. As embarrassing as that experience was at the time, I’m over the moon that it may have been a part of my journey to where I am now, and to this specific moment. I hope I’m doing Nora Ephron proud!”


Most importantly, this novel is a love letter to my family and my community. Many of the big parties described are inspired by real-life events I’ve attended! Although I fictionalised these events, I wanted the book to stay grounded and connected to me personally, so when the main character researches the place her grandfather grew up in the East End of London, I chose a building still standing, a house where my own great-great-parents lived at the turn of the nineteenth century. This novel is fictional, but it’s also very, very real, and I was keen to do honour to not only my family around me today, but to those family members I never got to meet, who came to London as poor immigrants, and may not have even been able to dream of everything we have achieved today.

THAT JEWISH THING BOOK BLURB (Publisher: Coronet (Hodder and Stoughton)

Tamsyn Rutman is at yet another wedding, for yet another cousin. She wouldn’t mind – the food’s pretty good, the location is fabulous and there’s a moderately famous singer crooning away – but what is a Jewish wedding if not the perfect opportunity for the bride to do a bit of matchmaking on behalf of her single, workaholic cousin? Tamsyn’s not at the table with her parents and her family, she’s sitting next to Ari Marshall. Ari is everything Tamsyn doesn’t want for herself, and everything her family want for her. Stubbornly determined not to fall into the trap of someone else’s happily ever after, Tamsyn decides to focus on work, and while interviewing London’s hottest new chef, finds herself being swept off her feet . . . by someone her family definitely wouldn’t approve of. But somehow, Ari and Tamsyn keep crossing paths, and she’s about to find out that in love, and in life, it’s not always easy to run away from who you really are …

Twitter – @NicoleBurstein
Instagram – @bursteinnicole

Kathryn Freeman – Mr Right Across the Street

For as long as she can remember, Kathryn has always wanted to write a book. It may have had something to do with her obsession with reading romance. Real life interfered and she headed off in a different direction, becoming a pharmacist before joining the pharmaceutical industry. She did end up writing, but it was about disease and medicines. Decades later, she’s finally doing what she always wanted to do. With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), all the romance in her life is in her head. Then again, his unstinting support of her career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

She commented, “I want to say something clever, but all I can think is – wow. And maybe a bit of ‘I hope they didn’t get me mixed up with someone else!’ I’m honoured, excited and immensely proud to be shortlisted.”


Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window … for her.

Facebook: @kathrynfreeman
Twitter: @KathrynFreeman1
Instagram: kathryn.freeman_author

Portia MacIntosh – Life’s A Beach

Portia is a best-selling author of twenty romantic comedy novels. This year she celebrates eight years since her first title was published. An ex-showbiz journalist, she now prefers to live the quiet life in West Yorkshire with her husband and their dog.

She commented, “It’s fantastic to be shortlisted for an RNA award for a second time. So many of my favourite authors have won RNA awards – to even be on the same list as them is more than I ever imagined.”

LIFE’S A BEACH BOOK BLURB (Publisher: Boldwood Books)

Peach is excited to hear that her sister, Di, is getting married. Of course, she would have preferred her little sister to be engaged to someone she’s known longer than a week – and the fact that his name is Charles doesn’t bode well – but who is she to judge?! After all, her own love life is non-existent, and who doesn’t love a destination wedding? Whisked away to the gorgeous Italian coast, Peach assumes her role as chief bridesmaid and, despite her reservations about the groom, she tries to ensure everything goes to plan. But weddings are never straightforward affairs … throw in some unexpected guests (in the form of ex-boyfriends) and one night stands, and soon enough there is more drama than a reality TV show.

Twitter: @portiamacintosh
Instagram: @portiamacintoshauthor

Bella Osborne – The Promise of Summer

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She likes to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories. She lives in Warwickshire with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing, Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

She commented, “I’m absolutely over the moon to be shortlisted in the RNA Awards for a fourth time. I have been so pleased with how much readers have fallen in love with the characters in The Promise of Summer especially as Curtis makes for an unusual hero. This is such an honour as the books are chosen by readers and making them happy is the ultimate accolade for any author.”


Since becoming a mum, I had stopped my writing hobby; but a chance encounter with a life coach in my day job led to me finishing a full novel and eventually being published.

THE PROMISE OF SUMMER BOOK BLURB (Publisher: Avon, HarperCollins)

Ruby’s life is about to change forever … After years of dating losers, cheats and one guy who did something unrepeatable to her kettle, Ruby has all but given up on romance. But then a stranger sits next to her on a train to London and explains his plan to propose to the woman of his dreams. Maybe true love does exist after all? When the man accidentally leaves the engagement ring behind, Ruby is determined to save the day. But she hasn’t counted on fellow passenger Curtis stepping in and insisting he should be the one to track the stranger down. As summer closes in, the unlikely pair make a promise to reunite the ring with its owner. But can they find their own happy ever after along the way?

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Lynne Shelby – Love On Location

Lynne writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing, won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city with her writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and has three adult children who live nearby.

She commented, “I am over the moon to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award. It really is a dream come true.”

LOVE ON LOCATION BOOK BLURB (Publisher: Headline Accent)

When Laurel Martin is hired to rewrite the script for a new timeslip blockbuster, she expects the historical advisor hired by the studio to be an elderly academic who won’t interfere too much with her writing. But when she meets Professor Jason Harding, a young and unexpectedly handsome archaeologist who has some ideas of his own about the script, she realises the job isn’t going to be as simple as she first thought.

As their work takes them from arguing over historical details in a cramped London office to discovering the hidden beauties of a Greek island, Laurel and Jason’s relationship starts to echo the romance of their script.

But with Laurel’s actor ex-boyfriend making trouble at home, and constant issues with the volatile director, will Laurel and Jason ever be able to write the happy ending for their own story?

Twitter: @LynneShelby5
Instagram: lynneshelbywriter