Welcome to our celebration! The anniversary I'm writing about today is not an occasion shared with a person or a job but, rather, with a city. That's right. A city. It all started in the summer of my 16th year when I visited Florence, Italy. To the best of my knowledge, my ancestry does not contain a single drop of Italian blood yet when I first entered this medieval city, birthplace of the Renaissance, my soul rejoiced as if it had finally come home. I spent but one day soaking up her wonders but as the bus carried us away and the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo) that stands guard over the city faded from view, I vowed that one day I would return. It took me a long time but on the 37th anniversary of that first visit, with my shiny new passport in hand, I boarded a plane and turned my eyes and my heart in the direction of this city with which I had fallen in love so many years earlier. Here are the thoughts I recorded in my journal as the plane brought me closer to the place that I had waited so long to see:
We are beginning our descent and I sit here, waiting, for my first glimpse of this most precious land. There! I see it now. The plane swoops down and my eyes hungrily sweep the magnificent vista before me. As far as the eye can see...lush, green valleys and softly undulating hills dotted with charming Tuscan villas. And, there, in the distance, the beautiful buildings of Florence. The cathedrals, towers, buildings that have stood the test of time for hundreds of years, majestically standing guard over this remarkable city. For 37 years I have waited, wanted, prayed for my return to this city that first captured my heart at the tender age of 16. I fumble for tissues as the joy fills my soul and the tears fill my eyes. This emotion spreading through my entire being is almost more than I can hold. I am about to place my feet once again in this amazing city and I can hardly believe it is really true.
On this 4th anniversary, I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who has helped make The Romance Dish what it is today. To Trish Milburn and Anna Campbell, thank you for sharing your knowledge, humor and wonderful talents with us over the past four years. We're delighted to announce that Anna will continue to join us once a month with her Second Helping Reviews. Trish will continue to bring us the latest in the world of Young Adult romance but will be joining us quarterly rather than monthly. A huge thank you to our long-time reviewer, Janga. Your eloquence and insight make each review a pleasure to read. The damage all those reviews are doing to my bank account is another story. *grin* To our new reviewers - Lisa, J Perry and Santa - thanks for offering your time and talents to The Romance Dish! We're excited about another reviewer who will be joining the team soon but I'll save her 'big reveal' for her first review. Finally, (as Andrea stated above) to our readers: We wouldn't be here without you. Thank you for your support, thank you for your insights, thank you for your friendship. You're the wind beneath our blogging wings and we appreciate you more than you will ever know. Let's lift our glasses to four great years of romance loving friendship and fun. Here's to many more! ~PJ
Now it's your turn, readers. Tell us about an anniversary you've celebrated. Or tell us about a place you've visited that spoke to your soul. Tell us your Romance Dish highlights of the past year - or years. Tell us what you'd like to see here in the coming year. Tell us what you're reading or just party with us. Every comment you leave today is an entry in our huge Anniversary Bash giveaway!
Since some of our gifts are U.S. only and others are for our international readers, we need you to include the following information in each comment you leave: your e-mail address and whether your mailing address is U.S. or International. Those two pieces of information must be included in every comment in order for that comment to be included in the giveaway drawings.
~PJ and Andrea
5 Prize Packs including books and swag
(Here's one of the packages. Notice the hunky chest at the top? That's an awesome t-shirt from Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs!)
(Sweet Enemy, Sweet Deception, and Sweet Madness)
1 Signed set of books by Jennifer McQuiston
(What Happens in Scotland and Summer is for Lovers)
1 Robyn Carr beach bag and signed copy of The Wanderer
4 International Giveaways (for any mailing address outside the U.S. that is on the bookdepository.com delivery list) One name will be drawn for each of the following books.
'Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries
The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn