The publisher's website mentions that Legacy won both the Betty Trask Award and the Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize. The Betty Trask Award, given by the Society of Authors to first novelists under 35, is still in existence — winners include Elizabeth Chadwick, Sarah Waters, Nino Ricci, and Stephanie Merritt (aka S.J. Parris) — but the Georgette Heyer Prize was a fairly short-lived honor, and one of the only prizes for historical novels until very recently. I kept running across mention of it while compiling Historical Fiction: A Guide to the Genre, but tracking down a list of winners proved elusive. The sponsoring publisher, The Bodley Head, no longer exists in the same form it used to (it was sold in the 1980s, became a children's imprint for a time, and was relaunched as a nonfiction imprint of Random House UK in '08).
Since I wasn't able to find an authoritative winners' list, I decided to re-create it as best I could, based on mentions on book covers and in reviews, library catalog searches, and other snippets of information I found online and offline. This is as complete a list as I was able to make (reprinted from Appendix A of Historical Fiction, with annotations added today). Please leave a comment if you have corrections/further details.
As with most literary awards, a few of the winners are still well known, while others have fallen into obscurity. Only Legacy is still in print.
In sum: the Historical Novel Prize in Memory of Georgette Heyer, a British contest for discovering new talent in historical fiction writing, was sponsored by The Bodley Head and Corgi Books from 1978 through 1989. Rhona Martin's Gallows Wedding was the inaugural winner. Though the award was named for famed Regency novelist Georgette Heyer, the awardees didn't necessarily emulate her style. Most have American editions.
1989 - A Fallen Land, Janet Broomfield.
A regional saga set in 1860s Edinburgh, in which a high-society family crosses paths with the family of a teenage girl from the slums.
1988 - Trust and Treason, Margaret Birkhead.
A gritty historical novel of treason and family loyalty in Elizabethan England; the author's only novel.
1987 - I Am England, Patricia Wright.
A Micheneresque epic set in the village of Furnace Green on the Sussex Weald, spanning five linked episodes from 70 AD through 1589. More from eNotes. That Near and Distant Place is the sequel.
1986 - The Cage, Michael Weston.
A grisly discovery in an 1880s tin mining community in Cornwall leads to the unraveling of a years-old murder mystery.
1985 - Legacy, Susan Kay.
Epic biographical fiction of Elizabeth I, her glorious reign, and the three men who loved her.
1984 - The Terioki Crossing, Alan Fisher. US title: The Three Passions of Countess Natalya.
Drama and historical adventure set on the ice of the Terioki Crossing in Russia in 1916.
1983 - Queen of the Lightning, Kathleen Herbert.
In 7th-century England, Riemmelth of Cumbria sets aside her romantic dreams in order to marry Oswy, Prince of Northumbria.
1982 - No award.
1981 - Zemindar, Valerie Fitzgerald.
This 800-page romantic epic, written in the style of The Far Pavilions, unfolds against the dangerous and exotic backdrop of 1850s India. Regrettably, this was Fitzgerald's only novel, and it's a prime candidate for reissue.
1980 - Children of Hachiman, Lynn Guest.
Dramatizes the life of 12th-century Samurai warrior Minamoto Yoshitsune, a renowned hero from Japanese history.
1979 - The Day of the Butterfly, Norah Lofts.
A Regency-era novel featuring unlikely heroine Daisy Holt, a country girl whose path to fortune begins in a London brothel. Submitted under a pseudonym; by 1979, Lofts was a well-known novelist!
1978 - Gallows Wedding, Rhona Martin.
A dark novel of witchcraft and forbidden love set against the backdrop of religious upheaval in Henry VIII's times.
Have you read any of these? Wouldn't it be nice if another publisher followed suit, setting up an award for unpublished historical novel manuscripts?