April Seal Of Excellence

April 2013's RT Seal of Excellence — the editors' pick for best book of the month — is awarded to Kate Noble's historical romance novel Let It Be Me. Each month the RT editors select one book that is not only compelling, but pushes the boundaries of genre fiction and stands out from all the other books that are reviewed in that issue and on the website. 


London holds no appeal for Bridget Forrester. Being considered second best to her beautiful sister has taken its toll, so when Bridget gets the opportunity to travel to Venice and study music under famed composer Vincenzo Carpenini she immediately leaves for Italy. Once there, Bridget discovers her independence and also finds love with theater owner Oliver Merrick. But a severe case of stage fright and several other complications ensure that the course of the love — and fame — does not run smooth.

"The story's prologue literally gave me goosebumps — goosebumps that never went away throughout the whole book. This is the kind of deep, touching read that romance fans search for. I have a new favorite author!" - Morgan Doremus, RT Editor 

"'If music be the food of love, play on,' said Shakespeare, and Kate Noble's Let it Be Me proves a beautifully lyrical song that historical romance readers will gladly devour. An airy tale of ambitious but stage fright-ridden pianist Bridget Forrester and aspiring theater owner Oliver Merrick, Let it Be Me is a love ballad dedicated to Venice. Strong family relationships, passion for the arts and a touch of whimsy will keep you turning the pages, but it's the gorgeously sweet relationship between Bridget and Oliver that makes this an unforgettable tune." - Mala Bhattacharjee, RT Editor

"Kate Noble writes the kind of complex, slow-build romances that I adore, and Let It Be Me is her best yet. I was hooked from page one of the bittersweet prologue. Filled with the beauty of Bridget's music and with breathtaking descriptions of Venice, Noble's tale is a sensual treat for the senses. Add to that a sweet, touching romance and a strong, supportive hero who helps Bridget's dreams come true, and you can't ask for anything more." - Audrey Goodson Kingo, RT Editor

So, which other books were contenders for the April Seal of Excellence? Here is a look at the titles the RT editors considered.


"Longtime J.R. Ward fans likely need no reminder that Lover At Last unites vampire warriors Blay and Qhuinn. But at a whopping 591 pages, that's definitely not all that happens in Ward's 11th entry in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Fans will also see a lot more of the Shadows, as Trez tries to escape his destiny and his own personal demons, and also a lot of Assail, as he tries to work his way to the top of the drug scene in Caldwell. Not to mention, the war between the BDB and the Band of Bastards continues to crank up. Lover at Last makes it clear that Ward is taking the series more in an Urban Fantasy direction, but don't despair romance readers! The love story between Blay and Qhuinn is full of all of the angst and no-holds-barred passion Ward's readers expect. Qhuay fans won't be disappointed!" - Audrey Goodson Kingo, RT Editor



"Nobody writes characters like Nora Roberts, but in her newest release Whiskey Beach, the author outshines even herself. It has been a year since Eli Landon's wife was murdered and he is still considered the number one suspect. To escape scrutiny, he moves to his grandmother's remote beach house. Neighbor Abra Walsh cannot stand to see anyone in pain, so she takes on the mission of helping Eli recover from his ordeal. These two circle around each other in a dance that can only end one way — once-in-a-lifetime love. However, before they can start their life together, questions need to be answered — questions that put both Abra and Eli in danger. This is an intense story with plenty of suspense, but what really shines are the complex, interesting characters that come to life under Nora Roberts' expert pen." - Morgan Doremus, RT Editor


"Inspired by real-life events that sent almost a quarter of a million of orphans west for 'better,' but frequently harsher lives, Christina Baker Kline's dual narrative Orphan Train follows the experiences of young Irish orphan Niamh — as she changes names and identities but never loses herself — and surly present-day Native American foster child, Molly. It's a moving, often unflinching, story of young women overcoming adversity and finding their inner strength. Kline's Orphan Train is a poignant ride that readers won't want to see end." - Mala Bhattacharjee, RT Editor


"After a brief respite at Jane's family home, Long Parkmeade, Jane and Vincent — and with Jane's sister Melody — sweep off to London for the season. But a suspiciously long winter and simmering political tension threaten to upend their newfound peace. Without a Summer, the third in Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist Histories, highlights a less flattering side of our heroine Jane Ellsworth; but in Kowal's skilled hands, Jane's somewhat ungenerous skepticism about the young man pursuing Melody only serves to make her more interesting, and more human. Kowal has always had a talent for integrating historical fact into her series, but her use of the cold summer of 1816 coupled with the original creation of the "coldmongers union" transforms a simple weather phenomenon into a fascinating and moving examination of class." - Regina Small, RT Editor


"Buried by Kendra Elliot took me by surprise. 'Engrossed' is too mild word for what I felt while reading this amazing romantic suspense novel. Twenty years ago Michael Brody's brother, Daniel, and his classmates vanished while on a field trip. When remains of the children are found, sans Daniel, Michael's mission is clear — he will find out what happened to his brother once and for all. Michael goes looking for Chris Jacobs, the sole survivor of the kidnapping. But Chris has gone into hiding and the only person he keeps in contact with is his sister Jamie. This means Michael must stick close to Jamie — not a difficult task considering their attraction to each other. But even as sparks fly between them, the mystery of his missing brother is never far from Michael's mind, especially when a madman from the past resurfaces and starts to kill again. Get ready for some major drama as a terrifying predator, two decades of secrets and their own fears stand in the way of Jamie and Michael's happily ever after." - Morgan Doremus, RT Editor

Some of the additional titles that the RT editors considered are:

The Rules by Stacey Kade

The Money Kill by Katia Lief

Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost

Visit The RT Seal of Excellence Index >>