The RNA Pure Passion Awards celebrate the very best in romantic fiction. Over 200 titles were submitted for this year’s four categories, from the long-standing and hotly-contested Romantic Novel of the Year, to more recent additions which recognise the breadth of romantic fiction – the Historical Novel Prize, Romantic Comedy Award, and Love Story of the Year.

‘This year’s short list represents the whole gamut of romantic fiction,’ said Katie Fforde, RNA Chair. ‘We have royalty, love letters, history and humour, from both newcomers and established authors. A truly impressive list.’

The Romantic Novel of the Year shortlist of six titles has been selected by a panel of 85 readers from the general public. The winner will be selected by three independent judges – Amanda Craig, author and book reviewer, Foyle’s War actor and contributor to the blog Vulpes Libris, Jay Benedict, and fiction buyer for Waterstone’s, Janine Cook.

The shortlist, in alphabetical order by author name, is:

  • To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick (Sphere)
  • The Golden Prince by Rebecca Dean (HarperCollins)
  • Kissing Mr Wrong by Sarah Duncan (Headline Review)
  • The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall (Sphere)
  • Amazir by Tom Gamble (Beautiful Books)
  • The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes (Hodder & Stoughton)

The Romantic Comedy Prize is organised and administered in the same way as the Romantic Novel of the Year. To reach the shortlist, the books must be laugh-out-loud funny. The winner is chosen by a panel of judges – Jane Wenham-Jones, author and columnist in magazine Booktime, Glenda Wood, Head of Libraries, Culture and Learning for Hertfordshire County Council, and Sara Craven, author of over 80 books for Mills & Boon.
The shortlist is:

  • The Way to a Woman’s Heart by Christina Jones (Piatkus)
  • I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk (HarperCollins)
  • Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Bantam Press)
  • Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell (Headline Review)
  • Katy Carter Wants A Hero by Ruth Saberton (Orion)
  • A Date in your Diary by Jules Stanbridge (Little Black Dress)

Submitted fiction which is set pre-1960 is eligible for the Historical Novel Prize. As with Romantic Novel of the Year and Romantic Comedy Prize, a shortlist of six is selected by a panel of readers, and the winner selected by three judges – Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Association, Elizabeth Hawksley, author and creative writing teacher, and Diane Pearson, president of the RNA since 1987.
The shortlist is:

  • To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick (Sphere)
  • Trade Winds by Christina Courtenay (Choc Lit)
  • The Golden Prince by Rebecca Dean (HarperCollins)
  • The Wayward Governess by Joanna Fulford (Mills & Boon Historical)
  • The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall (Sphere)
  • Heart of Stone by Jane Jackson (Severn House)

The Love Story of the Year is for a shorter romance where there is a strong emphasis on the developing central relationship. A shortlist of six is again chosen by the reading public, with the winner selected by three judges. The judges are Philippa Ashley, freelance copywriter, journalist and award winning author of five romantic novels, Penny Jordan, author of more than 200 novels with sales of over 80m across the globe and Jane Mathieson, regional coordinator of Time to Read, a network of people working to develop the adult reading audience in public libraries in NW England.

The shortlist is:

  • The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst by Louise Allen (Mills & Boon Historical)
  • Mother of the Bride by Caroline Anderson (Mills & Boon Romance)
  • Bride in a Gilded Cage by Abby Green (Mills & Boon Modern)
  • Moving On by Valerie Holmes (Linford Romance)
  • Fortunate Wager by Jan Jones (Robert Hale)
  • The Captain’s Mysterious Lady by Mary Nichols (Mills & Boon Historical)

Two Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to two people who have made outstanding contributions to romantic fiction and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

The winners for each award will be named at the Pure Passion Awards 2011, Monday, 7th March 2011 at a champagne reception at One Whitehall Place, Westminster.

You can see all the short listed books in our photo gallery.


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