HEREFORDSHIRE author Christina Courtenay has been declared the winner of the Historical Category of the Romantic Novel of the Year award.

The announcement, made by Darcey Bussell CBE, was for Christina’s novel The Gilded Fan, and to mark her success she was presented with a star-shaped crystal trophy in the Reading and Writing Room of the Gladstone Library, in London.

Christina won the prestigious award in the face of fierce competition from Charlotte Betts, who was successful last year, Liz Harris, Joanna Hickson, Carol McGrath and Annie Murray.

Published by Choc Lit, The Gilded Fan is set in 1641 and follows the story of Midori Kumashiro, orphaned daughter of a warlord, who has to leave Japan or die; so flees to England. Although trained in the arts of war, will that be enough to help Midori survive a journey with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?