The Romantic Novelists’ Association, which correctly uses an apostrophe and therefore wins my eternal love and devotion, has announced the six finalists for the 2008 Romantic Novel of the Year award. The award, which was created in 1960 to “promote excellence in romantic novels and increase literary recognition of the genre” is announced near Valentine’s Day.
The finalists are:
Most, if not all, are going to be released in the US during 2009 well after the award is announced. LadyFerris, who sent me the link above, said she’d only read Star Gazer – about a blind woman and a man who wants to take her to see the stars over Skye – and said it was “unusual and highly recommended.”
Two things strike me: one, the covers are opulent and strikingly beautiful. Yay for good covers! Two, not all of them appear to be straight up romances—Before the Storm appears to be a “family saga” from the review I found online. East of the Sun is about three women who journey to India during the British rule to find husbands and is called by most reviewers a “historical novel.” Last Concubine is a historical fiction novel about the last concubine in a women’s palace in 1865 Japan.
Sophia’s Secret seems very intriguing from the description: “Carolyn McClelland, a writer of historical novels, finds herself with a familiar enemy; writer’s block. A change of scenery leads her, and her book, in a whole new direction…. Inexplicably drawn to Slains Castle, and not so inexplicably drawn to the charming, but somehow familiar, Stuart Keith, Carolyn is soon writing with an unusual speed and imagery which leads her to wonder whether her ‘fictional’ character of Sophia is really so fictional after all.” And Ahern’s book, though dismissed somewhat in the Reed review as full of “contrivance and a multitude of sitcom mixups,” seems to be, judging from a superficial read of the description, a comic romance set against tragic beginnings.
If you’re looking for future ideas of what to read, these books are due out beginning in April and continuing through summer 2009. Have you read any of them? What did you think?