A "thrilled" author from Newbury has been shortlisted for an award following the publication of her novel.

Charlotte Betts, whose book, The Palace of Lost Dreams, was inspired by a trip to India, is up for a Romantic Novel Award (RNA).

Bestselling historical novelist Alison Weir will present the 2019 awards at a ceremony in the Gladstone Library, London, next month.

The RNA’s awards are the only national literary prizes that recognise excellence in the genre of romantic fiction, and Charlotte's novel is one of six finalists in The Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel category.

The book tells the story of Beatrice Sinclair, who travels to Hyderabad to visit her brother, an employee of the British East India Company.

She's astonished to discover he has married a beautiful Indian girl and lives with her extended family in a dilapidated palace famed for the theft of a fabled diamond many years before.

Speaking about her inspiration for The Palace of Lost Dreams, Charlotte said: "I visited India a few years ago and have never forgotten the impact it made upon me.

"It was a complete assault on the senses and, when I look at the photographs I took then, I'm immediately transported back to the heat, the intense clamour of the streets and the heady aromas of cinnamon, jasmine and drains.

"I found the decaying grandeur of the vast palaces and forts impossibly romantic and often dreamed about walking through them alone, listening to the whispers of times long ago.

"I'm absolutely thrilled and honoured to be included on the shortlist for this prestigious award."

Since its inception in 1960, the RNA has promoted excellence in romantic fiction.

RNA chair, Nicola Cornick, said: "Romantic fiction in the 21st century is diverse and exciting and this year’s shortlist brilliantly reflects the breadth of the genre.

"We are very proud to celebrate these outstanding books and authors, and the contribution they make to such a successful and popular genre."

David Headley, managing director of Goldsboro Books, said: "The range of themes explored in this year’s shortlist is a testament to the many facets of the romantic fiction genre and Goldsboro Books is delighted to be sponsoring the awards for a third year, and bringing these diverse and entertaining books to readers’ attention."