Romantic Novelists' Association

Press Release: Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Novel Awards 2023 Shortlists

31 January 2023



TUESDAY 31ST JANUARY 2023 We are delighted to announce the shortlists for this year’s Romantic Novel Awards, as well as the winner of the Popular Romantic Fiction Award for 2023. The awards celebrate excellence in romantic fiction in all its forms.

The award categories are as follows: The Fantasy Romantic Novel Award, the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers, the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award, the Christmas/Festive Holiday Romantic Novel Award, the Shorter Romantic Novel Award, the Romantic Saga Award, the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy, the Historical Romantic Novel Award, the Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, and the Popular Romantic Fiction Award (voted for by librarians, booksellers and book bloggers/reviewers).

The awards, which have been held since their inception in 1960, are highly respected in the UK publishing industry. Previous winners include Santa Montefiore, Joe Heap, Julie Cohen and Milly Johnson. The awards are unique in that they are judged entirely by readers, without input from any industry professionals.

Jean Fullerton, the RNA Chair, commented, ‘Once again, our lovely reader-judges have had the almost impossible task of creating award shortlists from what is an unbelievable number of cracking, page-turning novels. Thankfully they have, and I can only say this year’s shortlist books are the crème de la crème of romantic fiction.’

Sharon Ibbotson, the RNA Awards Coordinator, said, ‘Our genre continues to go from strength to strength, providing escapism, delight and delicious romance with the turn of every page. Our shortlisted books, voted for by real, everyday readers, are a testament to wordmanship and the dedication of their authors, who we congratulate today.’

The winners of the awards will be announced during the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel Awards ceremony, which is being held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City, 8-14 Cooper’s Row, London EC3N 2BQ, on Monday 6th March 2023 at 6.30pm. Best-selling author Jo Thomas will compère the ceremony; Sara-Jade Virtue, Brand Development Director, Fiction, for awards sponsor Simon & Schuster UK, will present the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers; RNA President, best-selling author Katie Fforde, will present the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award; and actor Peter Davison will present the remainder of the awards. Novelist Heidi Swain, who has won the Popular Romantic Fiction Award for her novel A Christmas Celebration, will also receive her award at the ceremony.

Readers who are interested in becoming a reader-judge for next year’s awards should contact Sharon Ibbotson, the Awards Coordinator, at:

To purchase tickets, click here

(authors are listed alphabetically)

The Fantasy Romantic Novel Award

Hidden in the Mists, Christina Courtenay, Headline Review

I Let You Fall, Sara Downing, Quilla Books (TCK Publishing)

Skip to the End, Molly James, Quercus

Impossible, Sarah Lotz, HarperCollins

Ocean’s Echo, Everina Maxwell, Orbit UK

The Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers

Cold Silence, Toni Anderson, Independent

Six Days, Dani Atkins, Aria (Head of Zeus)

My Other Husband, Dorothy Koomson, Headline Review

The Serial Killer’s Girl, L.H. Stacey, Boldwood Books

A Murder of Crows, Sarah Yarwood-Lovett, Embla Books (Bonnier Books UK)

The Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award

The Love of My Other Life, CJ Connolly, Joffe Books

A Colourful Country Escape, Anita Faulkner, Sphere

Twelve Days in May, Niamh Hargan, HarperCollins

Always by Your Side, Julie Haworth, Simon and Schuster UK

From Fake to Forever, Laila Rafi, Orion Dash

The Christmas/Festive Holiday Romantic Novel Award

This Year’s for Me and You, Emily Bell, Penguin Michael Joseph

Merrily Ever After, Cathy Bramley, Orion Fiction

Christmas with his Ballerina, Jessica Gilmore, Mills & Boon True Love

Snowed in for Christmas, Sarah Morgan, HQ

Santa, Please Bring Me a Boyfriend, Sophie Ranald, Bookouture

The Shorter Romantic Novel Award

The Earl’s Mysterious Lady, Louise Allen, Mills & Boon Historical

Summer at Seaspray Cottage, Angela Britnell, Choc Lit

The Shopgirl’s Forbidden Love, Jenni Fletcher, Mills & Boon Historical

Their Surprise Safari Reunion, Ella Hayes, Mills & Boon True Love

Stranded with My Forbidden Billionaire, Lucy King, Mills & Boon Modern

The Romantic Saga Award

A Child of the Dales, Diane Allen, Pan Macmillan

A New Start for the Wrens, Vicki Beeby, Canelo

The London Girls, Soraya M. Lane, Lake Union Publishing

Courage for the Cornish Girls, Betty Walker, Avon

A Mother’s War, Mollie Walton, Welbeck Publishing Group

The Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy

Great Sexpectations, Kristen Bailey, Bookouture

Playing for Love, Jeevani Charika, HQ Digital

The Woman Who Took a Chance, Fiona Gibson, Avon

Take a Chance on Greece, Emily Kerr, One More Chapter

A Wedding at Sandy Cove, Bella Osborne, Avon

The Historical Romantic Novel Award

A Postcard from Capri, Alex Brown, HarperCollins

The Dressmaker’s Secret, Lorna Cook, Avon

The Legacy of Halesham Hall, Jenni Keer, Headline Accent

The Three Lives of Alix St Pierre, Natasha Lester, Sphere

Before the Dawn, Emma Pass, Aria (Head of Zeus)

The Contemporary Romantic Novel Award

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures, Holly Hepburn, Simon and Schuster UK

A Cottage Full of Secrets, Jane Lovering, Boldwood Books

Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies, Ali McNamara, Sphere

Elodie’s Library of Second Chances, Rebecca Raisin, HQ Digital

Finding Happiness at Heritage View, Helen Rolfe, Boldwood Books

The WINNER of The Popular Romantic Fiction Award

A Christmas Celebration, Heidi Swain, Simon and Schuster UK



The Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers

Jackie Collins was a creative force, a trailblazer for women in fiction, and, in her own words, ‘A kick-ass writer!’ Since her 1968 debut The World is Full of Married Men, her books have sold in their millions in more than 40 countries and she is one of the world’s top-selling novelists. Ian Chapman, CEO of Simon & Schuster UK and International, said, ‘Jackie was kind, brilliantly astute, with a wicked, mischievous sense of humour. She was a consummate storyteller and made her craft look easy, like all great practitioners.  I – along with many others – miss her still and often expect to see her appear suddenly in our midst. We have long made a solemn commitment to ensure that her legacy endures and are incredibly proud to partner with the Romantic Novelists’ Association again to sponsor the Jackie Collins Romantic Thrillers award to support her fellow writers.

The Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award

Best-selling author Katie Fforde lives in the beautiful Cotswold countryside with her family and is a true country girl at heart. Each of her books explores a different profession or background and her research has helped her bring these to life. She’s been a porter in an auction house, tried her hand at pottery, refurbished furniture, delved behind the scenes of a dating website, and she’s even been on a Ray Mears survival course. She loves being a writer; to her there isn’t a more satisfying and pleasing thing to do. She particularly enjoys writing love stories. She believes falling in love is the best thing in the world, and she wants all her characters to experience it, and her readers to share their stories., @KatieFforde