Iona Grey has been honoured with the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s "highest accolade", The Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year, for her book Letters to the Lost (Simon & Schuster).
Authors Anita Burgh and Claire Lorrimer, meanwhile, were given Outstanding Achievement Awards.
Grey was presented with the £5,000 prize by Fern Britton at tonight's ceremony in London for Letters to the Lost, which the judges described as "a skillfully told story with captivating characters, convincing and compelling".
Grey was the winner of the Historical Romance Novel of the Year category. Her book along with the five other category winners – Contemporary, Epic, Romantic Comedy, RoNA Rose and YA – went forward to contest the Romantic Novelist’s Association’s “most coveted” award, the Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the year.
David Headley, Iona Grey and Fern Britton
The judging panel included Matt Bates of WH Smith Travel, Sarah Broadhurst, formerly of The Bookseller; novelist Elizabeth Buchan, Dorothy Burrows, programme director of the Wantage Literary Festival, Alison Flood of The Guardian and Karin Stoecker, ex-Editorial Director of Harlequin Books.
Eileen Ramsay, chairman of the RNA, said: "I loved this heart-breaking love story, a worthy winner in an extremely professional shortlist. Absolutely perfect.”
David Headley, managing director of Goldsboro Books, added: “This wonderful range of books demonstrates the breadth and depth of the genre and illustrates its enduring popularity and appeal to a wide and discerning audience.”
Romantic Novel of the Year Category Winners
Contemporary Category Romantic Novel of the Year
The Wedding Cake Tree (Choc Lit) by Melanie Hudson
Epic Category Romantic Novel of the Year
The Secrets We Share (Headline Review) by Emma Hannigan
Historical Category Romantic Novel of the Year
Letters to the Lost (Simon & Schuster) by Iona Grey
Romantic Comedy Category Romantic Novel of the Year
Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Café (Simon & Schuster) by Milly Johnson,
RoNA Rose Award
Doctor... To Duchess? (Mills & Boon Medical Romance) by Annie O’Neill
Young Adult Category Romantic Novel of the Year
Crow Mountain (Chicken House) by Lucy Inglis