Milton Keynes author Carole Matthews wins national award for her latest romantic novel

MK's best-selling writer Carole Matthews has scooped a success in the Romantic Novelists’ Association awards.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 1:01 pm

Her book Sunny Days and Sea Breezes was this week judged the best romantic novel of the year.

The winners were announced by actor Larry Lamb in a virtual ceremony last night compèred by author and broadcaster Jane Wenham-Jones.

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes, published by Sphere, Little, Brown, tells the story of Jodie, who escapes to the Isle of Wight to leave her past behind her. She'd like to turn back the clocks but will settle for some peace and quiet on her brother's renovated houseboat. But when her old life comes knocking, Jodie is forced to face reality.

Carole Matthews waiting for the winner to be announced

The judges said of the winning novel: “All the characters were well rounded and expertly brought to life on the page. It was a fast paced read that we never wanted to end. Amusing, with a feelgood factor despite the plot dealing with some deep and painful issues.”

In the same ceremony, author Mike Gayle was presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award, in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the field of romantic fiction.

Carole is the Sunday Times bestseller author or more than 30 novels and lives in Milton Keynes with her partner, known as 'Lovely Kev', in a house she describes as "a minimalist home with no carpets, curtains or ornaments."

She describes herself as "a writer of romantic comedy, drinker of champagne, baker of cakes and eater of chocolate" and lists her hobbies as "walking, dancing, Zumba, movies and watching rubbish telly".

Carole lists her hobbies as drinking champagne and eating chocolate

Just before the virtual awards ceremony, she posted a photo of herself on social media waiting for the results at her home.

She said she had dressed up for the occasion in "a designer lurex top (M&Co) with the latest in luxe joggers and fluffy slippers."

Carole was one of six finalists for the Romantic Comedy Novel Award category, which was searching for the best romantic novel with consistent wit and humour.

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes was also shortlisted for a second category, the Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award, while another of Carole's novels, Christmas for Beginners, was shortlisted for the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award.

Other Carole Matthews bestsellers include The Cake Shop in the Garden, A Cottage by the Sea, Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses, Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights, Million Love Songs and Happiness for Beginners.

In 2015, Carole was awarded the RNA Outstanding Achievement Award. Her novels delight readers all over the world and she is published in more than thirty countries.

The RNA’s awards are the only national literary prizes that recognise excellence in the genre of romantic fiction.

RNA Chair Imogen Howson said, “In a year when we have had to deal with anxiety, isolation, lockdowns, and some very surprising product shortages, romantic fiction has remained a source of escapism and comfort – an almost literal lifeline.

The Romantic Novel Awards showcase some of the very best of romantic fiction, and I am delighted and proud to be part of an industry that gives so much happiness to so many people.”