Tuesday, 11th February was a difficult day for travelling. Snow or rain had fallen again overnight and ice and/or flooding caused havoc with public transport the length and breadth of the country. But that did not stop Romantic Novelists heading to the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington to join in the annual Awards luncheon. The cloakroom was full of brollies and boots but the dining room was full of delightfully dressed ladies and gentlemen. There was a happy noise of greetings and exchange of news, the clinking of glasses and the popping of corks.
The tables were laid with crisp white linen and decorated with black candelabra and red and black ostrich plumes. Name cards in beautiful script [which must have taken many hours work to write out for three hundred guests] told everyone where to sit [another headache to plan where to put everyone].
The food was superb. Each course was beautiful to behold and mouthwateringly good. Best of all, the hot dish was served hot! The lemon tart was made in heaven. And throughout, the conversation was cheerful and people made new friends and happily met up with old ones.
The shortlisted candidates for the two prizes arrived early, in a mood of pleasant anticipation. Whatever the final result, during the event they were basking in admiration from their fellow writers. The winner of the Romance Prize was India Grey, while Julia Gregson won the prize for the Romantic Novel of the Year.
My thanks to Pam [Kate Hardy] for letting me use her photo of four Romance Prize finalists.
L-R: Beth, Fiona, Kate, Jessica