Romantic Novelists' Association

The Liberta Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award

4 March 2021

Today we’re meeting The Liberta Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award nominees.

Kate Hardy

Kate says:

Absolutely thrilled – especially as this is my 90th title for Mills & Boon and this year is my 20th anniversary of being published by them.

An interesting story:

I’ve always been fascinated by butterflies – remember seeing the cases of specimens at Norwich Castle museum when I was tiny (collected by Victorian lepidopterist Margeret Fountaine – which is what inspired me to use a female Victorian lepidopterist as the background) 

Some of the research included going to see butterflies at Warham Camp and Wheatfen Broad, as well as the butterfly house at the Horniman in London. (I have pics!) – have lots of nerdy facts too that Hugo learns from Alice (and vice versa) if you wanted to do a ‘did you know’ pullout, eg butterfly skeletons are transparent, butterflies see ultraviolet patterns that humans can’t on flower petals, their body temp needs to be 30 degrees C before they can fly, glass is an amorphous solid (which means it moves!); when glass breaks the cracks move at more than 1000mph


When architect Hugo’s aunt leaves her house to butterfly expert Alice, a complete stranger, he’s shocked – especially as the will states Hugo must help Alice turn it into a butterfly centre! They clash over everything – but the attraction between them is hard to ignore…






Ella Matthews

Ella says:

I am absolutely beyond thrilled to be short-listed for the Shorter Romantic Novel Award. The RNA has played a huge part in my writing career and so I am honoured to be a part of the 2021 RONAs.

An interesting story:

Local connections – The heroine, Lady Ellena Swein, comes from a place called Swein. Although this is an invented place, it is based on the Norse name for the original town of Swansea. Her castle, which is a fiercely contested property in the novel, is based on Oystermouth Castle, a prominent landmark in Mumbles, Swansea. A lot of the names in the novel, are based on local connections e.g. Ogmore, a powerful earl, is based on a place is Bridgend.



Racing cross-country pursued by danger, widow Ellena is against returning to her father’s castle. But with Sir Braedan Leofric as her captor, she has little choice! Ellena is surprised by his honourable nature but Braedan’s secret could either extinguish the spark between them or make it burn brighter.




Catherine Miller

Catherine says:

I’m beyond delighted that The Day that Changed Everything has been shortlisted in the shorter category for the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards. It’s a story about recovering from the worst times and in a year when we have all collectively faced difficult circumstances, I’m so glad to have written a book full of hope.

An interesting story:

The book is based near where I grew up in Margate, Kent and features scenes at the beach front that’s on the front cover. The idea came from a dream about fostering in a property called The Bunk-A-Low and this house name ended up in the story.



When you lose the love of your life, how do you find yourself again?

When Tabitha becomes a widow, she decides to become a foster carer, but with teenage twins and a newborn under her care, is there hope that any of them will heal?





Sophie Pembroke

Sophie says:

I’m so thrilled to be shortlisted – especially with a book that is so close to my heart in many ways.

An interesting story:

I grew up in Wales and my family still live there, so I have a strong connection to Welsh traditions – and a great love of rugby, which is a main theme in the book! The book actually came about because my editor and I initially bonded over Welsh rugby, and I promised her one day I’d write her a rugby book. It took a few years to find the right story, but I did – and that’s why it’s dedicated to her.


Gwen Phillips buries her pain deep, focussing on her daughter, and her late husband’s Trust. Until maverick rugby legend Ryan Phillips returns, determined to live up to his estranged brother’s golden reputation. He’s the one man who can bring joy back to Gwen’s life – if she’ll give him the chance…





Lara Temple

Lara says:

I’m incredibly honoured to be shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards for the second year in a row. Writing can be a solitary occupation, but The Romantic Novelists’ Association has been a warm and welcoming home in Romancelandia and so being shortlisted by its generous readers is all the more heartwarming. Thank you!

An interesting story:

The story of The Return of the Disappearing Duke is really a forced road trip through Egypt based in part on my own experiences while studying there many years ago. I loved reliving my memories of my wonderful time there – the famous camel drivers’ road from Nubia, the vast but varied deserts, the sheltering oases, and the awe-inspiring history carved into the temples. It is a perfect backdrop for two lost souls struggling to escape their past and build their future together. I hope readers enjoy coming along for the (grumpy camel) ride.



A scarred mercenary…Or the Disappearing Duke of Greybourne?

Rafe has spent years running from his true identity. He’s a lone wolf, living far from aristocratic England and his violent father. Then unconventional Cleopatra Osbourne requests his protection as she crosses the Egyptian desert.

After navigating deserts, assassins, jealous camels, charming pirates, and a very steamy steam bath, Cleo and Rafe finally reach England only to realize the real challenge isn’t protecting their hides, but their hearts.


Scarlet Wilson

Scarlet says:

Absolutely delighted to find out my medical romance has been shortlisted for the RNA awards. As a nurse, this is welcome news, in what has been an incredibly tough year for everyone.

An interesting story:

I’ve worked as a nurse in the NHS for the last thirty years




Independant midwife Esther McDonald’s life has never been a fairytale. Then along comes infuriatingly charming yet butooned-up neonatal surgeon Harry Beaumont – the Duke of Montrose – to sweep her off her feet. Will the cautious midwife allow herself to fall for the dashing duke?




The Romantic Novel Awards 2021
This year’s online Awards event will be streamed live from 7 PM on Monday March 8th. Everyone is welcome to join in and watch the live event. There is no need to register to do this.

You can view it on:
1)The RNA Website: and select the link to the viewing page. The viewing page will not be active until the day of the awards.

2) The RNA Public Facebook Page

3) The RNA Twitter account.