Romantic Fiction Competition
The overall standard of the entries was extremely high and there was a great variety of stories. Many people chose to set their romances in foreign countries, including Paris, Rome, Mumbai, Laos, Venice, Kenya and Mallorca, and reading them all felt like taking a round the world trip! These various settings all worked very well and I enjoyed the differences between them. There was also a great variety in the type of story told – one of our couples shared a cold drink in the Eiffel Tower restaurant, whilst another danced on the Titanic, and a third pair scraped together pennies for a hot coffee whilst homeless in London.
There were first encounters in young love, as well as mature couples who’d loved each other for years; different ethnicities and historical settings; happy endings as well as tragic ones; the exotic and the ordinary; the funny and the tender; the heart-warming and the heart-breaking. There was a great mix here and trying to whittle it down to the winning entries was quite a challenge.
It was particularly difficult to decide on the final three because I enjoyed all of them so much and thought that they were all of a similarly high standard. The fact that they were all so different from each other made it even more difficult to choose but in the end I decided that first place should be awarded to: In Search of a Boyfriend like Dermot O’ Leary. This was the story that made the strongest impression on me and lingered longest in my mind. I thought that this writer had a really strong voice and a great sense of humour, and her story was both funny and poignant. All of the characters were very solid and believable with strong personalities of their own, including the supporting characters. Since the love interest only arrived on the very last page, this one definitely left me wanting more!
In second place was: Strawberry Meringues and Blacked-Up Faces. The festive atmosphere of the Hedgehog Rolling festival was a great backdrop to this story, and reading it did give me a bit of a hankering for strawberry meringue! It was nicely paced and the moment when the two main characters find each other again was very satisfying. A very readable story as sweet and light as a freshly baked cake!
And, finally, in third place was: When the Time is Right. I thought this was a very moving and touching story that started off quite lightly but became deceptively deep as it went on. The main character’s quest to improve her life and find happiness was very involving to read about, as was her awareness of her own vulnerabilities and weaknesses. When she meets someone she can build a future with, her discovery of a new inner strength and willingness to take a chance make for a very satisfying ending.
Romantic Fiction Competition 2012
The winner of the 2012 Romantic Fiction Competition is:
In Search of a Boyfriend like Dermot O’ Leary by Madeline Parsons
Second place goes to:
Strawberry Meringues and Blacked-Up Faces by Elizabeth Lister
In third place is:
When the Time is Right by Tony Scarfi
Honest by Louise Peskett
Cardboard Castles by Laurel Remington
Theo by Anthony Farmer
Aspects of Love by Beryl Trebble
When You Do Dance, I Wish You by Michelle Williams
The Dance of Time by John Pownall
Grazie by Alan Barker
Higher Perches by Ian Smith
One Day, Two Lives by Annette Ashton-Redlin
Nandita by DVR RAO
On The Strand At Lahinch by Paul McMichael
Triptych by Barbara Peacock
Mermaid by Dorothy Kyne
The Robin's Song by Jack Nelson
Copy Ends Miss Tentagraph by Fabian Acker
Long listed entries:
Hay Fever by Yossi Faybish
Brief Encounter by Rebecca Berg
Lotte and Tom by Anthony Farmer
Jenny's in Love Again by Jeanne Valentine
A Strange Loving by Deborah Reader
Asolo by Rosy Dohan
Proposal by Gerard Rochford
Caffee Latte by Annett Grosser-Rogoff
The Veiled Teacher by Abdul Sulamal
Dangerous Tuesday by Angie Williams
Open Ending by David Evans
The Proposal by Fiona Allan
Religious Affairs by Ken Champion
Submissions for the next Romantic Fiction Competition will be accepted from Tuesday 1 October 2013 and the deadline for entries is at midnight on Monday 31 March 2014.
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