It is Valentine’s Day this week. Romantic Novel awards shortlists

Return to MandalayThe spice merchant's wifeWe’re rooting for  Return to Mandalay by Rosanna Ley and The Spice Merchant’s Wife by Charlotte Betts –  both titles have had many 5* ratings by our readers.

But you might want to try novels by the three male authors who’ve made the Romantic Novel Awards 2015 shortlists. Stephen Burke has been shortlisted for his novel The Good Italian and David Atkinson’s Love Byte is shortlisted alongside The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Jimmy Rice and Laura Tait  in the Romantic Comedy Novel category.

Barbara Taylor Bradford will present the 2015 awards at the Gladstone Library in London on 16th March. The winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year award will receive a cheque for £5,000.

Chairman Pia Fenton commented: “The shortlists show that romantic fiction covers an amazing array of different sub-genres, all equal as far as we are concerned. I love the diversity of the shortlisted books and authors, and I am thrilled that we had such a high number of entries this year, showing the popularity of this type of fiction. We are very grateful to all the publishers who supported these awards by sending us their entries. Huge congratulations to all the authors who are shortlisted this year, it’s a great achievement.”

There were a record number of entries this year and each book was read by a panel of three independent readers drawn from a list of over 100 volunteers.   The full shortlists are below-

  Contemporary Romantic Novel

 Epic Romantic Novel

 Historical Romantic Novel

   Romantic Comedy Novel

Young Adult Romantic Novel

 The RoNA Rose Award

For all the epic romantics ..

image-medium (83)#RomanticReads final lists from the shortlists for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year. Surely the best nomination must be Jessica Blair, revealed last year to be 90-year-old World War Two veteran, Bill Spence!! The only man included.

The Epic Romantic Novel

Jessica Blair, The Road Beneath Me

When Kate Swan’s overbearing father demands that she marry a man she despises, she refuses and is cast out of her comfortable home in Whitby. Fortunately, a kindly local widow is looking for a lady companion and, for the moment, Kate’s future is assured

Mary Fitzgerald, The Love Of A Lifetime

Can love survive the worst betrayal of all? From the moment Elizabeth Nugent arrives to live on his family’s farm in Shropshire, Richard Wilde is in love with her. And as they grow up, it seems like nothing can keep them apart. But as the Second World War rages, Richard is sent to fight in the jungles of Burma, leaving Elizabeth to deal with a terrible secret that could destroy his family

Emma Fraser, When Dawn Breaks

Two women. One secret. A heart-breaking choice. Skye, 1903. Jessie, the young daughter of a local midwife, is determined to become a nurse one day, but family loss and heartache jeopardise her dreams. Isabel, the doctor’s daughter, is planning to follow in her father’s footsteps – even though medicine is not considered a fitting career for a woman. And then there’s Archie, Jessie’s older brother, who Isabel just can’t stay away from. After one encounter in the woods, Archie disappears, and all their lives are irrevocably changed

Kate Lord Brown, The Perfume Garden

High in the hills of Valencia, a forgotten house guards its secrets. Emma Temple is the first to unlock its doors in 70 years. It is the perfect retreat. However, for her grandmother, Freya, a British nurse who stayed there during the Spanish Civil War, Emma’s new home evokes terrible memories

Jennifer McVeigh, The Fever Tree

Frances Irvine, destitute in the wake of her father’s sudden death, is forced to abandon her life of wealth and privilege in London and emigrate to the Cape. In this remote and inhospitable land she becomes entangled with two very different men. One driven by ambition, the other by his ideals

Lucinda Riley, The Midnight Rose

Filled with unforgettable characters, ‘The Midnight Rose’ is a multi-layered, heart-breaking tale, and marks Lucinda Riley’s most ambitious novel to date. Spanning four generations and two very different cultures, it sweeps from the glittering palaces of the great maharajas of India to the majestic stately homes of England, following the extraordinary life of a girl, Anahita Chaval, from 1911 to the present day

The Historical Romantic Novel

Charlotte Betts, The Painter’s Apprentice

1688. Beth Ambrose has lead a sheltered life within the walls of her home in London; a place where her parents provide a sanctuary for melancholic souls. A passionate and gifted artist, Beth shares a close bond with Johannes who nurtures her talents and takes her on as his apprentice. But political tensions rise in the capital

Christina Courtenay, The Gilded Fan

How do you start a new life, leaving behind all that you love? It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England on a ship with a lecherous crew and an untrustworthy but attractive captain

Liz Harris, A Bargain Struck

Widower Connor Maguire advertises for a wife to raise his young daughter, Bridget, work the homestead and bear him a son. Ellen O’Sullivan longs for a home, a husband and a family. On paper, she is everything that Connor needs. However, it soon becomes clear that Ellen has not been entirely truthful

Joanna Hickson, The Agincourt Bride 5 stars

This is the epic story of the queen who founded the Tudor dynasty, told through the eyes of her loyal nursemaid. Her beauty fuelled a war. Her courage captured a king

Annie Murray, The Women Of Lilac Street

Birmingham, almost a decade after the end of the Great War, and the women of Lilac Street have had more than their fair share of troubles. Rose Southgate is trapped in a loveless marriage. Jen Green is desperately struggling to make ends meet, with a sick husband, and five children to support. And Phyllis Taylor is a widow who has managed to put a dark and traumatic past behind her

Modern Romance – the best

image-medium (82)#RomanticReads Celebrate Valentine’s Day! The shortlist for the The Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year includes some titles Leeds readers have loved.

Helen Chandler, Two for Joy – another 5 star rater

Julia and Toby have been friends for years, but apart from a couple of drunken snogs in their university days, there’s never been anything more than friendship between them. It’s only when Toby goes through a dramatic break up with his gorgeous ballerina girlfriend Ruby, that he and Julia realise they’re meant to be together. Then Ruby drops a bombshell – she’s pregnant – and though he feels torn in two, Toby feels he has to give their relationship another chance. Heartbroken Julia is left to lick her wounds in her little Walthamstow home, thinking she has lost Toby forever

Susan Elliot Wright, The Things We Never Said

In 1964 Maggie wakes to find she doesn’t know who she is. She slowly begins to have memories of a storm and of a man called Jack. In 2008 Jonathan is struggling to tell his parents that he and his wife are expecting a baby, when a detective arrives to question him about crimes committed long ago

Veronica Henry, A Night On The Orient Express – loads of 5 star ratings

The Orient Express. Luxury. Mystery. Romance. For one group of passengers settling into their seats and taking their first sips of champagne, the journey from London to Venice is more than the trip of a lifetime. A mysterious errand; a promise made to a dying friend; an unexpected proposal; a secret reaching back a lifetime. As the train sweeps on, revelations, confessions and assignations unfold against the most romantic and infamous setting in the world

Lisa Jewell, Before I Met You

London, 1920. Arlette works in Liberty by day, and by night is caughty up in a glamorous whirl of parties, clubs, cocktails and jazz. But when tragedy strikes she flees the city, never to return. Over half a century later, in the grungy mid-’90s, her graddaughter Betty arrives in London. She can’t wait to begin her new life. But before she can do so, she must find the mysterious woman named in her grandmother’s will. What she doesn’t know is that her search will uncover the heartbreaking secret that changed her grandmother’s life, and might also change hers for ever

Pippa Wright, The Foster Husband

Kate left her home for London when she was 18, and never looked back. She had it all: the glamorous career, the gorgeous husband. Until her marriage failed and she lost her job. Holed up in her granny’s bungalow, she’s forced to share her new home with Ben, the clueless fiance of her sister Prue

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day …

image-medium (81)#RomanticReads So let’s celebrate with these fine specimens of chick lit which have made one of the Romantic novels of the year shortlists, this one for: The Romantic Comedy Novel

Jenny Colgan, Christmas At The Cupcake Café

Issy Randall, proud owner of the Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn’t be happier. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance

Jenny Colgan  The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris – 5 stars !!!

As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate – made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandes dames of Paris. It’s a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire , who offered her the chance of a lifetime – to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier

Margaret James, The Wedding Diary

Where’s a fairy godmother when you need one? If you won a fairy-tale wedding in a luxury hotel, you’d be delighted – right? But what if you didn’t have anyone to marry? Cat Aston did have a fiancé, but now it looks like her Prince Charming has done a runner

Milly Johnson, It’s Raining Men

Best friends from work May, Lara and Clare are desperate for some time away. They have each had a rough time of it lately and need some serious R & R. So they set off to a luxurious spa for ten glorious days, but when they arrive at their destination, it seems it is not the place they thought it was. In fact, they appear to have come to entirely the wrong village. Here in Ren Dullem nothing is quite what it seems; the lovely cobbled streets and picturesque cottages hide a secret that the villagers have been keeping hidden for years. Why is everyone so unfriendly and suspicious? Why does the landlord of their holiday rental seem so rude? And why are there so few women in the village?

Ali McNamara, Step Back In Time 5 stars

How many lifetimes would you travel to find a love that lasts for ever? When single career girl Jo-Jo steps onto a zebra crossing and gets hit by a car, she awakes to find herself in 1963. And then it happens three more times, and Jo-Jo finds herself living a completely new life in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. The only people she can rely on are Harry and Ellie, two companions from 2013, and George, the owner of a second-hand record store. If she’s ever to return from her travels, Jo-Jo must work out why she’s jumping through time like this. And if she does make it back, will her old life ever be the same again?

Fiona Walker, The Summer Wedding

The hotly anticipated wedding of Iris Devonshire, ravishing teenage daughter of celebrity couple Mia and Leo, is to be held in the gardens of their grand Palladian pile alongside the Thames. But Mia and Leo worry that she’s rushing into the marriage