I’m a little late in sharing this news but better late than never…
Christina Courtenay, who divides her time between London and Hereford, was declared the winner of the Historical Category of the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in March!
The announcement, made by Darcey Bussell CBE, was for her novel ‘The Gilded Fan’, and to mark her success Christina was presented with a star-shaped crystal trophy by Ms Bussell during a glittering ceremony held in the Reading and Writing Room of the Gladstone Library, One Whitehall Place in London.
Christina’s novel then went forward, along with those of the four other category winners – Contemporary, Epic, Romantic Comedy and Young Adult – to contest the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) most coveted award, the Romantic Novel of the Year. This is the most prestigious award in the RNA’s calendar and the winner was announced later in the evening.
The Historical Novel Category is for books set in a period before 1960, and time slip novels can be included. Christina won in the face of fierce competition from Charlotte Betts, who was successful last year, Liz Harris, Joanna Hickson, Carol McGrath and Annie Murray.
Published by Choc Lit, ‘The Gilded Fan’ is set in 1641 and follows the story of Midori Kumashiro, orphaned daughter of a warlord, who has to leave Japan or die; so flees to England. Although trained in the arts of war, will that be enough to help Midori survive a journey with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain that she doesn’t trust?
Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her? During the journey Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive.
This year the five judges included Sarah Broadhurst, The Bookseller; Alison Flood, Guardian.co.uk; Jane Mays, The Daily Mail; Karin Stoecker, ex-Editorial Director, Harlequin Books and Chris White of Waterstones. The judges said of Christina’s novel, “Historically well done and accurate. The Japanese element was riveting, it was a compelling read.”
For the past 50 years the RNA has set a benchmark in romantic fiction. Its President, Katie Fforde, commented, “The RNA was set up in 1961 to encourage the good writing of romantic fiction in all its many genres. We congratulate all of our category winners. To get this far and compete against some of the best authors in the land is no mean feat.”