GALLOWS WEDDING BY RHONA MARTIN. WINNER OF THE FIRST GEORGETTE HEYER ROMANTIC NOVELIST AWARD

This is the strange, haunting story of two ill-starred lovers, set against the backdrop of the religious upheaval of Henry VIII’s time. Hazel, a peasant girl marked by the witches’ brand and a dangerous beauty, loves Black John, an outlaw and aristocrat, whom she rescues from the gallows. Together they struggle to survive a world in which brutal death awaits at every corner, and stumble along a fateful collision towards a harrowing climax.

The Historical Novel Prize was founded in memory of Georgette Heyer by Bodley Head and Corgi Books. Rhona Martin’s remarkable first novel won the award in 1977, its first year, in competition with 150 entries.