The Romance Writers of America have been honouring the best in romance writing since 1982, first with the Golden Medallion and then with the RITA award starting in 1990. We still have two winners from 1983 in our library collection: The Heart's Victory (M) by Nora Roberts and The Endearment (M) by LaVyrle Spencer. Nora actually makes another appearance this year under her alias of J.D. Robb.
The purpose of the RITA® contest is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas. The award itself is a golden statuette named after RWA's first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and has become the symbol for excellence in published romance fiction.
This year's winners are:
Best First Book
by Darynda Jones
"Charley sees dead people. That's right, she sees dead people. And it's her job to convince them to 'go into the light.' But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely."--Publisher
Dragon Bound (M)
by Thea Harrison
"Pia's ex betrayed her, blackmailing her into doing something dangerous and scary. Dragos is a multi-billionaire wyr dragon who controls a huge financial empire headquartered in New York. After Pia steals a penny from his horde, leaving a replacement with a note, he will not rest until he finds her. She was raised by a single mother, a member of one of the elder races, who knew to put all kinds of safety measures in place for Pia, including drops with false identities and cash. But even so, Pia is unable to evade Dragos. When they end up combining forces, they are captured and tortured by goblins, until her unique powers enable them to escape.
Harrison presents a big, sprawling novel with such fascinating secondary characters as a faerie princess who is Dragos' public-relations manager, a former god who creates thunder and lightning when angry, and a harpy. This is an outstanding blend of romantic suspense and urban fantasy with great storytelling and world building, extremely sensuous scenes that move the story arc along, and characters readers will be reluctant to leave." -- Booklist
by Joanna Bourne
Someone is stalking French agent Justine DeCabrillac through London's gray streets. Under cover of the rain, the assassin strikes--and Justine staggers to the door of the one man who can save her. The man she once loved. The man she hated. Adrian Hawkhurst.
Adrian wanted the treacherous beauty known as "Owl" back in his bed, but not wounded and clinging to life. Now, as he helps her heal, the two must learn to trust each other to confront the hidden menace that's trying to kill them--and survive long enough to explore the passion simmering between them once again" -- Publisher
Regency Historical Romance
by Tessa Dare
"Welcome to Spindle Cove, where ladies with delicate constitutions come for the sea air, and men in their prime are ... nowhere to be found. Or are they? Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men. It is a haven for those who live there. Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn't belong here. So far as he can tell, there's nothing in this place but spinsters ... and sheep. But he has no choice; he has orders to gather a militia. It's a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch--a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram's makeshift army. Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle ... but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?"--Publisher
by J.D. Robb
"An intense and terrifying new case for New York homicide cop Eve Dallas, one that will take her all the way to the city that gave her her name - and plunge her into the nightmares of her childhood. When a monster named Isaac McQueen escapes from Rikers, he has two things in mind. One is to pick up where he left off. The other is to get revenge on the woman who stopped him all those years ago - Eve."--Publisher