Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Latest Project: To Read the Golden Heart Historical Winners

Are you curious to see what kind of first books by romance authors are deemed worthy of a great prize by the Romance Writers of America? Well, I was. I decided to take a look at the work of the authors who won the prestigious Golden Heart Award in the historical romance category (at least since they have had the category). These are romance novels written by as yet unpublished authors. Many went on to write more romances, some had successful careers.

What is interesting to note is that many of the “big names” are missing from the list, names such as historical authors Heather Graham, Linda Lael Miller, Kathleen Woodiwiss and Elizabeth Lowell, though they won RWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. And others, who won the Romantic Times best historical romance author awards are missing, like Marsha Canham, Bertrice Small, Connie Brockway, Maggie Osborne, Theresa Medeiros, Lisa Kleypas, and others. Many of the Golden Heart historical winners did not have long careers as romance authors, some none at all. So, not every writer of great historical romance is launched this way. And, of course, there are many other categories of the award. Still, the historical romance authors who garnered this coveted prize are worthy of our attention.

I decided it was a worthy project to try and read at least one by each author (if I could find them). They are listed below. Note that the early awards didn’t name the book titles, and some Golden Heart winners don’t provide that information on their websites. I will be posting reviews as I read them, beginning with Nadine Crenshaw’s Mountain Mistress today.

Golden Heart Historical Romance Winners:

2010: Between Heaven and Hell by Jacqui Nelson
2009: Butterfly Swords Jeannie Lin
2008: Wanting Finian by Kris Kennedy
2007: Sager’s Passion by Elaine Levine (published as Rachel and the Hired Gun)
2006: The Education of Mrs. Brimley by Donna MacMeans
2005: Ruined by Victoria Grondahl
2004: Once A Thief by Kimberly Snoke
2003: Unmasked by Diane Perkins
2002: Rules of Engagement by Kathryn Caskle
2001: Black Stone Keep by Gay Thornton
2000: Shades of Honor by Wendy Bores
1999: Tarleton’s Wife by Grace Ann Kone
1998: Star-Crossed by Tracy Cozzens
1997: The Path of The Wind by Deborah Hale
1998: White Roses by Janet Lee Nickoles

Before 1988, RWA didn’t identify the book title; in some cases I have identified them or the earliest book published by the author.

1995: Linda Needham (For My Lady’s Kiss)
1994: Stephanie Diane Maynard (Lord of Misrule)
1993: Donna Royer
1992: Kathleen Gerberick
1991: Susan Sizemore (Wings of the Storm)
1990: Christina Dodd (Candle in the Window)
1989: Anita Gordon (The Valiant Heart)
1988: Patricia Gaffney (Sweet Treason)
1987: Nadine Crenshaw (Mountain Mistress, reviewed in today’s blog)
1986: Jill Marie Landis (Sunflower)
1985: Linda Bartell (Alyssa)
1984: Maureen Kurr (Northward the Heart)
1983: Betina Lindsey (Waltz with the Lady)


  1. Wow! What an interesting idea!!! :)

    Looking forward to reading the reviews...

    Lisa :)

  2. What a really clever idea. Thank you for the time and research you invested to create this illuminating list.

    Will make a copy of the list . . . and explore the possibility of walking in your footsteps. (Have been on a binge of reading some of the older-published Historical Romances lately . . . so this idea appeals to me.)

  3. Wolf Bear: I got sorta sidetracked by my latest projects, the first being developing a Best Irish Historical Romances list. It's taken me through dozens of wonderful novels.