The Birthday Party author Veronica Henry has picked up the RNA 2014 Romantic Novel of the Year Award, winning a cheque for £5000 and trophies presented by Darcey Bussell, CBE, for her book A Night on the Orient Express.
The novel, which won in the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year category, was described as a 'feel good romantic book with very natural dialogue' and a 'page turner' by the judging panel, which consisted of five industry professionals: Alison Flood (The Guardian), Sarah Broadhurst (The Bookseller), Jane Mays (The Daily Mail), Karin Stoecker (Harlequin Books) and Chris White (fiction buyer at Waterstones).
Category winners were Jennifer McVeigh in the Epic category for her novel The Fever Tree (Penguin), Christina Courtenay in the Historical category for The Gilded Fan (Choc Lit), Milly Johnson in the Romantic Comedy category for It's Raining Men (Simon & Schuster), and Imogen Howson in the Young Adult category for Linked (Quercus).
Bridget Jones author Helen Fielding was given an Outstanding Achievement award.
RNA president Katie Fforde said: "Every year we are astounded by the quality of writing and enthusiasm from our entrants. Their passion is evident in their writing and all can be proud of having been part of the Awards this year. Our congratulations go to Veronica Henry, who is thoroughly deserving of her win and provided the judges with an intriguing plot with some twisty turns that delivered what can only be described as a page-turning novel. All in all a very well-earned win."
The Orient Express. Luxury. Mystery. Romance. For one group of passengers settling in to 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.