A step back in time…

I met Renee Bernard at the Romantic Times conference in 2018. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other. Her reputation preceded her. Renee is the organizer and heart of the Historical Romance Retreat, the premier event for historical romance authors and readers. I couldn’t wait to attend.

For me, this event was four years in the making. I had registered for it in 2019 and had to cancel. In the subsequent years, there was either a personal conflict or the event was postponed due to the pandemic. Finally, this year, I was able to attend. It was well worth the wait!

The dynamic of this year’s event which ran from September 28 – October 1, was filled with dressing up in lovely gowns and renewing acquaintances and/or putting faces to people, both authors and readers, I only know online, mostly through Facebook. The warmth and comradery was both overwhelming and heartwarming.

The retreat took place at the Westgate Hotel is located in the historic Gaslamp quarter, in San Diego California. Built in 1970, the Westgate captures the distinctively European ambiance conjured by French antiques, Flemish and French tapestries, Baccarat crystal chandeliers, exquisite Persian carpets and warm hospitality. It was the perfect place for the retreat.

Four days filled with friends and fun.

The retreat kicked off Wednesday night with a beautiful Welcome Gathering at hotel’s outdoor Fountain Terrace.

Thursday morning, we all stepped back in time and attended a Regency Country Fair. Many authors came in historic costumes. They oversaw the various table games and gave out small prizes. For those not so inclined to play the games, it was a great venue to catch up.

One of the main features of the retreat was Thursday’s Afternoon Tea. Authors and readers sat together and discussed books and writing. Everyone was encouraged to wear a hat. Prizes were awarded. Thursday evening was the Whigs and Wenches party where we played board games. The King and Queen paraded around the room serving notice of taxes for a variety of ‘offenses’ that incited a minor rebellion!

Friday was the Historical Pool Party, in costume, of course. We finished that night with dancing and listening to Irish and Scottish folk music, Highland Ceilidlh. We learned the Highland Fling and Scottish reel.

Saturday was The Great Book Exhibition, a book signing event open to the public. Among the authors signing books was Julia Quinn. Saturday night was the “Bridgerton” Grand Regency Ball with live music and period dances. It was the grand finale to a wonderful retreat.

It was wonderful from beginning to end! The days went by quickly. Before I knew it, it was Sunday and time to go home. Saying goodbye at the Farewell Breakfast was not easy. Before we left, Renee announced that the next Historical Romance Retreat would be held on October 2023! I’m ready to make my reservation. Where do I sign up?

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