Here’s our prediction of the 16 romance novels by Australian authors that’ll be most talked about in 2016.
Which ones are on your list already or what’ve we missed?
A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald
It’s 1922 in the Manhattan of gin, jazz and prosperity.
Women wear makeup and hitched hemlines – and enjoy a new freedom to vote and work. Not so for Evelyn Lockhart, who is forbidden from pursuing her passion to become one of the first female doctors. Chasing her dream will mean turning her back on her family: her competitive sister, Viola; her conservative parents; and the childhood best friend she is expected to marry, Charlie.
In a desperate attempt to support herself through Columbia University’s medical school, Evie auditions for the infamous late-night Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway. But if she gets the part, what will it mean for her fledgling relationship with Upper East Side banker Thomas Whitman – a man Evie thinks she could fall in love with, if only she lived a life less scandalous?
Captivating, romantic and tragic, A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald follows a young woman ahead of her time amid the fragile hearts and glamour of Jazz Age New York.
Summers with Juliette
Almost twenty years ago, on a beautiful coastal cliff, Juliette Cole, Anna Kendall and Sera Di Maggio linked pinkies and made a vow to be there for each other no matter what might happen in their lives.
Now Juliette is calling in the promise — terminally ill, she wants her two friends to come back to Ellesmere to help her through her last summer. The trouble is Anna and Sera haven’t spoken in years, and Anna hasn’t returned home since she and her mother were run out of town in disgrace.
But Anna and Sera do have one thing in common: they want Juliette to fight her cancer by any means possible. When they realise the only way may be to find a man called Noah, they reluctantly agree to put aside their differences and search for him.
But, as Anna and Sera discover, sometimes facing the past is the best way to face the future, and perhaps the only way they will find the strength for their last summer with Juliette.
The Secret Heiress
A fabled house. A fabulous fortune. Beautiful, identical twins…
Dark shadows fall across the golden summer of 1886. Naive country girl Ida Garfield longs to escape the farm and when Miss Matilda Gregory, the elegant mistress of Summersby House, offers Ida employment as a housemaid, Ida leaps at the chance. Yet it’s not for her servant’s skills that she’s wanted.
It’s her inquisitiveness…
But before Ida starts her first day, Miss Gregory is found dead. Fearing her one chance of bettering herself lost, Ida goes to the funeral, hoping that someone else from Summersby will still want her.
Someone does. Handsome blond Englishman Mr Samuel Hackett is the late Miss Gregory’s fiancé. He expresses a keen need for a housemaid – and a friend.
But Miss Gregory’s will brings to light an extraordinary deception and a terrible wrong from the past. Summersby has a secret heiress, whose name is also Matilda Gregory… A strange, ethereal girl with an irrevocably broken memory.
Could Samuel Hackett be responsible for his fiancée’s death? A pact made with Barker, Hackett’s dark and dangerous valet, is effective in silencing tongues. The two young men return the second Matilda to her inheritance – and set off a series of bizarre events.
Secretly in love with Samuel, yet determined to aid the fragile heiress, Ida uncovers eerie messages from beyond the grave hinting at Summersby’s disturbing past – and its foreboding future. And Ida learns the terrible truth about the secret heiress … and an even more shocking legacy.
All That Is Lost Between Us
Seventeen-year-old Georgia has a secret – one that is isolating her from everyone she loves. She is desperate to tell her best friend, but Sophia is ignoring her, and she doesn’t know why. And before she can find out, Sophia is left fighting for her life after a hit and run, with Georgia a traumatised witness.
As a school psychologist, Georgia’s mother Anya should be used to dealing with scared adolescents. However, it’s very different when the girl who needs help is your own child. Meanwhile, Georgia’s father is wracked with a guilt he can’t share; and when Zac, Georgia’s younger brother, stumbles on an unlikely truth, the family relationships really begin to unravel.
Georgia’s secret is about to go viral. And yet, it will be the stranger heading for the family home who will leave her running through the countryside into terrible danger. Can the Turner family rise above the lies they have told to betray or protect one another, in order to fight for what matters most of all?
Set against the stark, rugged beauty of England’s Lake District, All That is Lost Between Us is a timeless thriller with a modern twist.
Emperor of the Eight Islands
Like George R. R. Martin, Lian Hearn has captivated millions of readers worldwide with her masterpiece of imagination, TALES OF THE OTORI. Now, against a dazzling canvas of wild forest, elegant court and savage battlefield, she brilliantly brings to life the world that existed 300 years earlier.
Hearn weaves an intricate tapestry – seething with intrigue, adventure and love – of two rival clans struggling over who will be crowned Emperor of the Eight Islands, in a medieval Japanese country inhabited by warriors, assassins, ghosts and guardian spirits. And as the laws of destiny play out their inexorable drama, so the battle for the Lotus Throne begins.
The War Bride
Young Englishwoman Margaret Dalton is full of excitement as she arrives to begin a new life in the warm, golden land of Australia. She leaves behind the horrors of WWI and can’t wait to see her husband, Frank, after two years’ separation. But when Margaret’s ship docks, Frank isn’t there to greet her and Margaret is informed that he already has a wife . . .
Devastated, Margaret must swap her hopes and dreams for the reality of living and working in a strange new city. And just as a growing friendship with army sergeant Tom McBride gives her a steady person to rely on, news arrives that Frank may not have abandoned her. Where should Margaret’s loyalties lie: with the old life or with the new?
Café owner Frankie has been unlucky in love all her life. It’s hard in a small town like Bunyip Bay to meet prospective partners. Her sister, Simone, lost the love of her life years before and is now devoted to raising their two teenage girls, leaving little time for romance. When Frankie is kissed by a handsome stranger who calls her Simone, it’s a case of mistaken identity – but who is this man and how does he know Simone?
Logan Knight is in town to meet up with a woman he has met online. Although raised on a farm with his brother Angus, he has travelled the world as a journalist and is now looking forward to meeting a girl and settling down. The girl in the café was an amazing kisser – but not the one he thought he was meeting!
Reclusive farmer Angus wants nothing to do with Logan’s plans for improving the property’s finances and finding a partner – until he meets the sisters at a wedding. Who is attracted to whom? More importantly, can Frankie and Simone sort out their feelings for the two brothers without destroying their very close bond?
Under the Spanish Stars
Charlotte Kavanagh’s beloved grandma Katarina Sanchez is gravely ill, so when she begs Charlotte to travel to her homeland in Andalucía to uncover the truth behind a mysterious painting, Charlotte agrees. Taking leave from her soul-destroying job and stalled life in Australia, Charlotte embarks on a quest through Granada’s ancient cobble-stoned streets and vibrant neighbourhoods. There she meets Mateo Vives, a flamenco guitarist with a dark past, and through him she quickly becomes entangled in the world of flamenco and gypsies that ignites a passion she had thought lost.
But the mystery surrounding the painting deepens, reaching back in time to the war-torn Spain of the 1940s and Charlotte discovers her grandmother’s connection to the Spanish underground. Who is her grandmother, really? What is Mateo’s connection to her family history? And why is finding answers to a family mystery turning into a journey of self-discovery for Charlotte?
Weighed down by secrets, betrayals and shattered relationships, Charlotte finds herself questioning the true meaning of heritage, family and love.
The last thing Vaughn Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that come with her.
Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to scream or cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together.
Just when this runaway bride has nowhere left to turn, a handsome stranger offers her a broad, muscular shoulder to cry on. Vaughn is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessmen she’s normally drawn to. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and is facing his own crossroads. But Lydia’s already tried Mr Right and discovered he’s all wrong-maybe it’s time to give Mr Right Now a chance.
After all, what’s wrong with getting dirty?
The Other Side of the Season
Jenn J McLeod
Everything has a reflection…
And there’s another side to every story.
When offering to drive her brother to Byron Bay to escape the bitter Blue Mountain’s winter, Sidney neglects to mention her planned detour to the small seaside town of Watercolour Cove.
Thirty-five years earlier, Watercolour Cove is a very different place. Two brothers are working the steep, snake-infested slopes of a Coffs Coast banana plantation. Seventeen-year-old David does his share, but the budding artist spends too much time daydreaming about becoming the next Pro Hart and skiving off with the teasing and tantalisingly pretty Tilly from the neighbouring property. His older brother, Matthew, has no time for such infatuations. His future is on the land and he plans to take over the Greenhill plantation from his father.
Life is simple on top of the mountain for David, Matthew and Tilly until the winter of 1979 when tragedy strikes, starting a chain reaction that will ruin lives for years to come. Those who can, escape the Greenhill plantation. One stays—trapped on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and…
…there’s another side to every story.
Running Against the Tide
The past will always find you.
Erin Travers is running away from her life and taking her two sons with her to a small town on the ruggedly beautiful Eyre Peninsula. The close-knit township is full of happy childhood memories for Erin, but she’s bringing a whole lot of baggage with her.
When the peaceful community is disrupted by theft and arson, rumours fly about who is responsible. In a small town where lives are tangled too closely together, old grudges flare, fingers are pointed and secrets are unmasked.
Five extraordinary sisters discover that they each have a unique talent, an extra-sensory perception that enables them to see what others can’t.
It makes them incredible, it puts them in danger, and it brings them closer to learning the secrets that have haunted them their entire lives.
These are the Delta Girls.
Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms (cover to come)
In 1944 over 1100 Japanese soldiers attempted to break out of the POW camp at Cowra.
Hiroshi escaped to the Erambie Aboriginal Mission, where he fell in love with a local Koori girl Mary Williams.
They were prevented by her father and the Aboriginal Protection Act from marrying but never once stopped loving each other.
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
In her first posting as governess, Ella Montgomery discover beautiful Blackheath Manor hides family secrets and suppressed passions.
Mysterious music in the darkness of night draws Ella to the talented Thomas Worsley, the brother of her employer, the Earl of Renthorpe.
Grievously wounded in the Napoleonic Wars that killed his beloved twin brother, Thomas is held prisoner at Blackheath by more than his blindness and scars.
Fuelled by a bitter jealousy, the Earl has ensured Thomas is only a memory, his name etched on a marble memorial in the Bedfordshire village graveyard.
Drawn together by their love of music, Ella and Thomas begin a clandestine affair, but how far will the Earl go to keep his family’s secret?
The Farmer’s Perfect Match
One farmer + two stunning girls competing for his affection = 1 hit reality show
Gorgeous farmer Adam Armstrong loves his life — he owns and runs his own piece of heaven, a successful pearl farm, and spends his days outdoors in Australia’s stunning Kimberley. There’s just one thing missing: someone to share it with, but when you live in one of the most uninhabited places on Earth it’s not easy to meet the perfect woman.
Enter Evangeline Sinclair, PA for hot new reality show Perfect Mate — smart, funny, passionate and determined to help him find his ideal partner. What could go wrong, right?
Adam has signed a contract to pursue a relationship with one of the contestants and he’s a man of integrity, but Evie, with her very personal interview questions, is opening him up in unexpected ways. Can he stay true to his agreement to find love in front of the cameras rather than behind?
For Evie, a year in professional wasteland after an on-air debacle has left her desperate to salvage her career andPerfect Mate’s success will ensure this. But can she stand by while the man she’s falling in love with is ruthlessly exploited?
Amy Andrews and Ros Baxter
Live every day like it was your last.
Mathematician and many-time Loser in Love Poppy Devine believes in being prepared. So when she discovers she has breast cancer, all she has to do is dust off the carefully numbered bucket list she prepared years before with her best friend Julia.
There are only two problems: Quentin, a gorgeous younger man with rock-star ambitions, wasn’t on her list. And take-a-risk Julia, has suddenly come over all disapproving.
Together with Poppy’s hippy mother Scarlet, the three form an unlikely alliance to help Poppy realise her goals. Sky diving, swimming with sharks, cooking classes in Tuscany, visiting an orphanage in India are all part of the journey. Along the way, Poppy is forced to confront her best friend’s grief, her fraught relationship with her mother, and the fact that she really might be using her last available time on earth to make the most imperfect match of her life.
But Poppy comes to learn that when your days are numbered there’s no such thing as perfect and love really is all you need.
I couldn’t wrap up the countdown without adding a couple of notable mentions set for release in 2016…
The Peppercorn Project
One heartbroken woman. One bitter cop. One community to save them.
After the tragic death of her husband, single mum Isabelle Cassidy is bereft and broke. When she hears about The Peppercorn Project – a scheme that offers affordable rent in the tiny but vibrant town of Stony Creek – Issie sees it as her family’s best chance at a fresh start.
Newly single police officer Matt Robertson moved to Stony Creek to lick his wounds after a bitter divorce. Wanting only peace and quiet, Matt is against the Project, seeing it as a threat to the peace he’s found in the country town – until he meets Issie. Despite himself, Matt is drawn to the widow and feels inexplicably protective of her fragile family.
Just when Issie begins to imagine a future with Matt, an accident proves how far she has to go before she can move beyond her grief. But the citizens of Stony Creek won’t rest until they see these two broken souls find a new beginning, together.
Can Issie move beyond the pain of her past and entrust Matt with her family, and her heart?
Undeniable: Always 3
Cherie M. Hudson
Sit still for a moment. Close your eyes. Listen. Just listen. What do you hear? When I do that, I hear … fuzz. Okay, not really fuzz, but it’s hard to explain what I hear. Put your hands over your ears. Hear that? That’s kind of like what I hear, but not really …
I feel sound. Does that make sense? Being deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other sucks. People think I’m dumb. I’m not dumb. I just can’t hear you. I’ve worked out however, people thinking you’re dumb actually works to your advantage. When people think you’re dumb, they don’t expect anything from you. And when they don’t expect anything from you, you don’t have to engage with them. I’m okay with that.
So why the hell is my sister’s boyfriend’s cousin, an annoying Australian named Caden, so adamant he wants to talk to me? I can’t work out if he’s laughing at me, or if he can see what I can see … the world is worth laughing at. What kind of name is Caden any way?
I also can’t work out why, for the first time ever, I wish I could truly hear the way normal people do. Surely it has nothing to do with the fact I wonder what his heart would sound like beating in his chest if I lay my head on it. I can’t work it out and I don’t like it.
The Cedar Cutter’s Daughter
Tempting Mr Townsend
Beauty – and the Beast?
When rough diamond Anthony Townsend, who also happens to be one of the richest men in England, bursts into Lady Fenella’s house and demands she hand over his runaway nephew, this dashing widow embarks on a breathtaking adventure that might just end in exciting new love.
Fenella, Lady Deerham, has rejoined society after five years of mourning her beloved husband’s death at Waterloo. Now she’s fêted as a diamond of the first water and London’s perfect lady. But beneath her exquisite exterior, this delicate blond beauty conceals depths of courage and passion nobody has ever suspected. When her son and his school friend go missing, she vows to find them whatever it takes. Including setting off alone in the middle of the night with high-handed bear of a man, Anthony Townsend. Will this tumultuous journey end in more tragedy? Or will the impetuous quest astonish this dashing widow with a breathtaking new love, and life with the last man she ever imagined?
And the Beast?
When Anthony Townsend bursts into Lady Deerham’s fashionable Mayfair mansion demanding the return of his orphaned nephew, the lovely widow’s beauty and spirit turn his world upside down. But surely such a refined and aristocratic creature will scorn a rough, self-made man’s courtship, even if that man is now one of the richest magnates in England. Especially after he’s made such a woeful first impression by barging into her house and accusing her of conniving with the runaways. But when Fenella insists on sharing the desperate search for the boys, fate offers Anthony a chance to play the hero and change her mind about him. Will reluctant proximity convince Fenella that perhaps Mr. Townsend isn’t so beastly after all? Or now that their charges are safe, will Anthony and Fenella remain forever opposites fighting their attraction?
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