RNA unveils award shortlists and honours Gayle

RNA unveils award shortlists and honours Gayle

The shortlists for the 2021 Romantic Novel Awards have been revealed, with Mike Gayle (pictured) receiving this year's Outstanding Achievement Award.

Run by the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA), this year's winners will be presented with their prize by actor and presenter Larry Lamb in a digital event on 8th March.

The shortlists for the awards, the only national literary prizes that recognise excellence in the genre of romantic fiction, include nominations for Beth O’Leary, Kirsty Eyre and Jenny Colgan (see full shortlists below).

The categories comprise the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, the Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award, the Romantic Comedy Novel Award, the Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award, the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers, the Romantic Saga Award, the Fantasy Romantic Novel Award, the Libertà Shorter Romantic Novel Award and the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award. 

RNA chair, Imogen Howson, commented: “This year’s shortlists showcase, yet again, the wonderful variety of romantic fiction, with books from publishers large and small, from some authors who are household names and others who may well be the next big thing. In difficult times, the sales of romantic fiction rise, and these books—with all their humour, drama, excitement, and romance—remind us exactly why.”

Gayle, author of books including last year's Richard and Judy Book Club pick Half A World Away (Hodder), will be recognised on the night for his “extraordinary contribution to the field of romantic fiction”.

RNA president Katie Fforde said: “Mike Gayle is a wonderful writer who brings a slightly different angle to the genre. His life as a journalist adds depth and maturity as well as masculinity to his work. I love his books.”

The full shortlists are:


The Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award:

Cow Girl, Kirsty Eyre (HarperCollins)

The Bookshop of Second Chances, Jackie Fraser (Simon & Schuster)

The Silent Treatment, Abbie Greaves, Century (Cornerstone)

This Is Not a Love Story, Mary Hargreaves (Trapeze)

A New Life for Ariana Byrne, Liz Hurley (Hera Books)

The Authenticity Project, Clare Pooleynt (Bantam Press)


The Libertà Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award:

A Will, a Wish and a Wedding, Kate Hardy (Mills & Boon True Love)

The Warrior Knight and the Widow, Ella Matthews (Mills & Boon Historical)

The Day That Changed Everything, Catherine Miller (Bookouture)

Second Chance for the Single Mum, Sophie Pembroke (Mills & Boon True Love)

The Return of the Disappearing Duke, Lara Temple (Mills & Boon Historical)

Cinderella and the Surgeon, Scarlet Wilson (Mills & Boon Medical)


The Romantic Saga Award:

The Girl from the Tanner’s Yard, Diane Allen (Pan)

The Variety Girls, Tracy Baines (Ebury)

The Ops Room Girls, Vicki Beeby (Canelo)

Bobby’s War, Shirley Mann (Bonnier Books UK)

The Orphan’s Daughter, Sandy Taylor (Bookouture)

Secrets of the Lavender Girls, Kate Thompson (Hodder & Stoughton)


The Romantic Comedy Novel Award:

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes, Trisha Ashley (Bantam Press)

Someday at Christmas, Lizzie Byron (Hodder & Stoughton)

Christmas at the Island Hotel, Jenny Colgan (Sphere)

One Winter’s Night, Kiley Dunbar (Hera Books)

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes, Carole Matthews (Sphere)

The Switch, Beth O’Leary (Quercus)


The Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award:

The Forgotten Sister, Nicola Cornick (HQ)

The House by the Sea, Louise Douglas (Boldwood Books)

Death Comes to Cornwall, Kate Johnson (Dash Digital)

The Twins, Jane Lark (One More Chapter)

Escape to the Little Chateau, Marie Laval (Choc Lit)


The Fantasy Romantic Novel Award:

Echoes of the Runes, Christina Courtenay (Headline Review)

The Start of Us, Hannah Emery (One More Chapter)

The Reluctant Witch, Amelia Hopegood (Independently Published)

The Cornish Connection, Amanda James (Independently Published)

Someday in Paris, Olivia Lara (Aria, Head of Zeus)


The Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award:

Where We Belong, Anstey Harris (Simon & Schuster)

My One True North, Milly Johnson (Simon & Schuster)

One Day in Summer, Shari Low (Boldwood Books)

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You, Annie Lyons (One More Chapter)

Christmas for Beginners, Carole Matthews (Sphere)

The Little Shop in Cornwall, Helen Pollard (Bookouture)

Mix Tape, Jane Sanderson (Bantam Press)

The Takeover, T L Swan (Montlake)

The Spark, Jules Wake (One More Chapter)


The Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award:

Heartbreak in the Valleys, Francesca Capaldi (Hera Books)

The Coming of the Wolf, Elizabeth Chadwick (Sphere)

Spirited, Julie Cohen (Orion)

Daniel’s Daughter, Victoria Cornwall (Choc Lit)

The French Wife, Diney Costeloe (Aria)

People Like Us, Louise Fein (Aria)

The Lost Lights of St Kilda, Elisabeth Gifford (Corvus)

Rags-to-Riches Wife, Catherine Tinley (Mills & Boon Historical)

The Skylark’s Secret, Fiona Valpy (Lake Union Publishing)


The Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award:

Sing Me a Secret, Julie Houston (Aria)

Christmas Wishes, Sue Moorcroft (Avon)

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes, Carole Matthews (Sphere)

A Perfect Cornish Escape, Phillipa Ashley (Avon)

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, Josie Silver (Penguin)