The finalists for the UK's Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2009 have been named. They are :
Michelli Pauli in The Guardian looks at the nominees and explains how they were chosen by a panel of members of the Romantic Novelists' Association from a longlist selected by 80 members of the public.
- Star Gazing - Linda Gillard
- Sophia's Secret - Susanna Kearsley
- Before the Storm - Judith Lennox
- The Last Concubine - Lesley Downer
- Thanks for the Memories - Cecelia Ahern
- East of the Sun - Julia Gregson
You can read extracts from all of these novels here.
Anyone being sniffy about romance in fiction should take judge Fanny Blake's words to heart :
Love is central to all our lives ... yet romantic literature is often dismissed as secondary to great fiction despite the fact that most classic literature we love features romance in all its guises, from Jane Eyre through Howard's End to Atonement. Well-crafted romantic fiction is eternally relevant and I'm excited to be a judge for this prize that draws attention to the best of the best.The winner will be announced Feb 10th which gives the guys just enough time to track down a copy to present to their loved one with some nice roses, a box of chocs, some sexy lingerie ...