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The Wenches

  • Mary Jo Putney

  • Patricia Rice

  • Susan Fraser King

  • Anne Gracie

  • Nicola Cornick

  • Andrea Penrose

  • Christina Courtenay

In Memoriam

  • Jo Beverley
    Word Wench 2006-2016

  • Edith Layton
    Word Wench 2006-2009

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June 2023

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Wenches Statistics

  • Years published: 164

    Novels published: 231

    Novellas published: 74

    Range of story dates: nine centuries (1026-present)

    Awards Won:

    • RWA RITA

    • RWA Honor Roll

    • RWA Top 10 Favorite

    • RT Lifetime Achievement

    • RT Living Legend

    • RT Reviewers Choice

    • Publishers Weekly Starred Reviews

    • Golden Leaf

    • Barclay Gold

    • ABA Notable Book

    • Historical Novels Review Editors Choice

    • AAR Best Romance

    • Smart Bitches Top 10

    Kirkus Reviews Top 21

    Library Journal Top 5

    Publishers Weekly Top 5

    Booklist Top 10

    • Booktopia Top 10

    • Golden Apple Award for Lifetime Achievement

    Bestseller Lists:

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    • Waldenbooks Mass Market

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    Chicago Tribune

    • Rocky Mountain News

    • Publishers Weekly


« Christmas Market | Main | Christmas Traditions »


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Just finished Catherine Anderson's 'The Christmas Room' (audio version). Enjoyed this immensely. I have all of Anderson's available audio books and this one rates quite highly, especially for a Christmas read. Full of humor and conflict with two strong central love stories, one of them for the older readers of the genre *G*

Also finished the audio of MJP's 'Once a Rebel'. As always I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of romance and adventure ... the narrator was also excellent.

Mary Jo Putney

The Catherine Anderson sounds great, Quantum! And I'm envious--I STILL haven't received my author copies of Once a Rebel. Time to give 'em a poke again. *G*

Sue McCormick

I'm still into doing re-reads. Since Patricia Rice wound up the Family Genius stories, I decided to do a "binge read" of the entire series. I hadn't quite realized this until the reread, but this is a 5-novel single story on one level while retaining the 5-stand-alonge novels in a group status. Ana's complete story if very satisfactory indeed!!

And like Quantum, I have read and enjoyed Catherine Anderson's The Christmas Room.

Mary T

I am currently in the middle of HOUSE OF SHADOWS by Nicola Cornick, which I won on this very website last month. It is not the type of book I would normally choose for myself, so I am so glad that I won it. Otherwise I would really be missing out on a good book. I involves three stories from three different time periods that are interwoven. I'm loving it.

Just finished the latest offerings from Mary Balogh (SOMEONE TO WED) and Grace Burrowes (NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO) - both were fantastic. I'll soon start reading my Christmas readings also. I have quite a collection already. Several by Mary Balogh, Barbara Metzger, Carla Kelley, and several anthologies involving any number of authors.

One of my favorites though, is A CHRISTMAS CHARADE by Karla Hocker. I got this book several years ago as a freebie from Amazon. Again, this was a book I would not normally have chosen for myself because if involves a ghost. But this ghost (Annie) is so charming, you cannot help but love her. Doesn't hurt to step out of your comfort zone now and then. You might find something wonderful.

jeanette dilts

Just wondering if there are any other anthologies by the Wenches other than those listed in the right-hand column under "Books"? I would love to read more Christmas or others by the Wenches.

Anne Gracie

As it happens I bought Catherine Anderson's 'The Christmas Room earlier this week, Quantum, on a recommendation from a readers' group I'm on, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

Anne Gracie

Jeanette, as a group we've only done two anthologies, but I know most of the others have written quite a few Christmas stories. I'll see if we can slip a list into the wenchly newsletter, which comes out in a day or two. You can sign up for the newsletter on this site.

Mary Jo Putney

Sue, the Family Genius books really make a great, sweeping story arc, don't they, even though they stand alone very nicely!

Mary Jo Putney

Mary T, I agree on the benefits of reading outside one's comfort zone. I joined a small reading group so I'd have to read things I wouldn't have picked up. A couple of winners, a couple of losers, but all worthwhile!


What about Mary Jo's Christmas Revels? I also have Signet Regency Christmas anthologies for several years.
I like Christmas stories and usually try to reread some every year.

Teresa Broderick

I'm struggling big time at the moment with reading anything. Don't know what's wrong and I'm so frustrated by it!! I've looked up The Cockermouth Mail and it sounds like a lovely Christmas read so I think I'll try and locate it and hopefully it might get me back on track.
Lovely post.

Andrea Penrose

Wait until you read MJP's new one . . . I was lucky enough to get a Beta read and it's fabulous! (As always.)

Andrea Penrose

Now, must get The Christmas Room!

Andrea Penrose

So true on that, Mary. I don't usually read paranormal but have read some really fabulous ones because of recommendations here!

Andrea Penrose

Jeanette, we're putting together a list for our December newsletter, so stay tuned!

Mary Jo Putney

Nancy. our Wenchly December, which will be out in a day or two, will have listings of all the Christmas stories written by Wenches, including Christmas Revels. I've talked about that collection often enough in the past that I didn't want to mention it when we have so many other stories to discuss.

Mary Jo Putney

Teresa, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. The Cockermouth Mail looks hard to find, but it sounds like it will be worth it. I hope it gets you back in the reading mood!


I'm also a fan of "The Cockermouth Mail" but I swapped my copy away so I won't be reading it this year. But there is another book which hits a lot of the same notes, that I absolutely adore: "Fallen Angel" by Charlotte Louise Dolan. It starts with a road trip at Christmastime, an impoverished heroine and a grouchy hero. I have a Kindle version, so I can and do reread it as necessary!
The only new Christmas novella I've read so far is "Mistletoe and the Major" by Anna Campbell. A lovely read. "Once a Rebel" by Mary Jo and "Murder on Black Swan Lane" by Andrea are on my TBR list. You can grab "Murder on Black Swan Lane" e-book version at a great sale price now, $2.99 on Amazon(U.S.)!

Mary Jo Putney


Michelle H

Remember when you were a kid and came home from the library with the max allowed books you could check out stacked in your arms? (I hope you all got to have that experience.) Well, between the titles mentioned by the Wenches, and those listed in the comments, I feel like that giddy kid again with a list of yummy sounding book titles to look for. Each year seems to have so many more new Christmas titles available than the year before. I'll never catch up. But that's where recommendations are very welcome.

I reread many many of the Christmas novellas I own each holiday season and I'm very behind this year because we moved to a different state and into a new house. I have a feeling I'll look up shortly after the new year and think the past year was a blur. But I have gotten started. I read a new one; Anna Campbell's 'Mistletoe and the Major,' and agree with Karin. I also reread the collections Anna has out there with the writing group that has put out some wonderful reads. I always reread the Wench's compilations. And I also will reread the old Signet Regency Christmas collections that I've been able to get my hands on, unless I can acquire the individual novellas on Kindle. That's not easy!

Andrea Penrose

Thanks, Karin! I hope you enjoy it!

Andrea Penrose

Michelle, a numbrr of us wrote for the Signet regency Xmas anthologies, and have released those stories in e-books editions. I have my two one up in a e-book, Christmas By Candlelight (under my Andrea Pickens nom de plume.) And Mary Jo, Pat, and Susan have anthologies. Our December newsletter lists them all, with links.


I read Dianne Farr's new ebook The Mistletoe Test and reread Once Upon a Christmas. The new one is charming and the old one holds up. Which is what I would have expected from her.

I used to love the old Signet (and 0ther) Christmas regency collections and I still pull one out and read a novellette when I need a little Christmas.


Some of my recent reads include some holiday novellas (both Christmas and Valentine's Day, so I'm either massively behind or ahead.)

Holiday themed:
— The Substitute Guest by Mary Balogh
— A Waltz Among the Stars by Mary Balogh
— The Light Within by Carla Kelly
— Let Nothing You Dismay by Carla Kelly
— A Christmas for Oscar by Alex Whitehall (m/m)
— The Christmas Throwaway by RJ Scott (m/m novel)
— God Rest Ye Merry Vampires by Liv Rancourt

Other books read since the last column:

— Linesman (A Linesman Novel) by S. K. Dunstall which I quite enjoyed.
— Baking With Kafka by Tom Gauld, a fun collection of comics. I enjoyed it as did my husband with whom I was sharing choice tidbits as he was trying to fall asleep.
— Foretold (A Ghost Gifts Novel, Book 2) by Laura Spinella. It’s book two in a series, and you’d definitely want to read the series in order. I’m now looking forward to the third book which is expected out next year.
— A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series) by Sherry Thomas; I recommend this one, too. And, yes, this series needs to be read in order.
— A Certain Magic by Mary Balogh (an older Balogh romance I’d never read)
— Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher (intriguing scifi romance)
— Sunder (Darksoul, Book 1) by Lexi Ander (m/m)
— Love Can’t Conquer and the sequel Love is Heartless by Kim Fielding (m/m)
— The New Wolf by RJ Scott (m/m)
— Hour of the Lion by Cherise Sinclair
— re-read My Reckless Heart by Jo Goodman

— the contemporary romance Complicated by Kristen Ashley. It was a pleasant read but probably not a book I’ll be re-reading. This author has a very distinctive style, and this was quintessentially a Kristen Ashley book.
— Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for my book group. This was a meaty read. I would have been unlikely to finish this were I not reading it for my book group, but I’m glad I did. It was eye opening in a number of ways. (And .. spoiler alert … it had a happy ending which satisfied my romance reading soul.) I will admit that it left me with no desire to visit Nigeria.
— The Librarian: A First Contact Story by M.N. Arzu which I enjoyed.

— Ruby Dixon has quite a following for her series of science fiction alien romances. I read her Barbarian’s Touch and Barbarian’s Prize. They were pleasant reads but not books I’ll be re-reading.
— I reread with pleasure Anne Cleeland’s Murder in Retribution and Murder in Hindsight.
— the science fiction romance Cassandra’s Challenge (The Imperial Series Book 1) by M. K. Eidem which I enjoyed. This particular book was both longer and more meaty than the other books I’ve read by this author. I’d happily read on in the series, but I don’t think I’ll necessarily be re-reading this book.
— Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color by Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring; I’ve been dipping into it over the course of the last month. It is an interesting combination of history and art, and it introduced me to some women I’d not known.
— read with pleasure the contemporary romance Over the Fence by Melanie Moreland. This was somewhat out of the ordinary in that all but one chapter were from the point of view of the hero.


Oh, Diane Farr writes great sweet stories!

Mary Jo Putney

Karin, Charlotte Louise Dolan was another Signet Regency writer, but I'm not sure I read that one. It sounds worth looking up! Your TBR pile looks likely to keep you entertained through December. *G*

Mary Jo Putney

Indeed, Diane Farr does write very well!

Mary Jo Putney

Kareni, as always your reading list is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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