Christina Courtenay, Imogen Howson, Milly Johnson, Darcey Bussell, Helen Fielding, Veronica Henry, Kate Hardy, Jennifer McVeigh

Veronica Henry triumphed over her fellow competing authors to win the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s highest accolade, the Romantic Novel of the Year with A Night on the Orient Express, published by Orion. Darcey Bussell, CBE presented Veronica with her trophies and a cheque for £5000.

The independent panel of five judges were fulsome in their praise of Veronica’s book

“Most accomplished and most romantic – it epitomises romance.”
“One cared about the characters, who were from different times of life.”
“Good pace, it really was a page turner.”
“The characters were well differentiated, and continued to develop throughout.”
“Feel good romantic book with very natural dialogue.”

Veronica’s novel won the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Category, for which she also received a specially engraved star-shaped trophy. Her book then went forward, along with those of the four other category winners – Epic, Historical, Romantic Comedy and Young Adult – to contest the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) most coveted award, the Romantic Novel of the Year.

The independent judges read the five genre category winners novels before meeting to debate the finer points of each book. This year the judges included Sarah Broadhurst, The Bookseller; Alison Flood,; Jane Mays, The Daily Mail; Karin Stoecker, ex-Editorial Director, Harlequin Books and Chris White of Waterstones.

The RoNA Rose Award
This Award is for shorter category/series fiction and while it does not go forward to contest the main award, the authors are recognised through the presentation of a trophy and, this year, a cheque for £1000.These were presented by Darcey Bussell to Kate Hardy for her book Bound By A Baby, published by Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Romantic Novel of the Year Category Winners
Just prior to announcing the main award winner Darcey Bussell recognised the achievements of the category winners by revealing who had won and presenting them with star-shaped trophies, engraved with their names and genre. The winners were:

Jennifer McVeigh, The Fever Tree, Penguin
Winner Epic Category Romantic Novel of the Year
(for mainstream romantic novels set post 1960 and can include genres such as chic lit,  paranormal and romantic suspense)

Christina Courtenay, The Gilded Fan, Choc Lit
Winner Historical Category Romantic Novel of the Year
(for novels set in a period before 1960)

Milly Johnson, It’s Raining Men, Simon & Schuster
Winner Romantic Comedy Category Romantic Novel of the Year
(for consistently humorous or amusing novels)

Imogen Howson, Linked, Quercus
Winner Young Adult Category Romantic Novel of the Year
(features protagonists who are teenagers or young adults)

Katie Fforde, President of the RNA said, “Every year we are astounded by the quality of writing and enthusiasm from our entrants. Their passion is evident in their writing and all can be proud of having been part of the Awards this year. Our congratulations go to Veronica Henry, who is thoroughly deserving of her win and provided the judges with an intriguing plot with some twisty turns that delivered what can only be described as a page-turning novel. All in all a very well-earned win.”

Outstanding Achievement Awards
Helen Fielding, author of the popular Bridget Jones novels, who defined the romantic angst of a generation, and Dr. David Hessayon were both presented with outstanding achievement awards.

Dr. David Hessayon is a long-time friend of the RNA, having sponsored for many years the association’s annual award recognising the best in new writing. The Joan Hessayon Award is named in memory of his late wife, an ardent and longstanding member of the RNA and great supporter of New Writers’ Scheme (NWS).


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