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The Wenches

  • Mary Jo Putney

  • Patricia Rice

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  • Jo Beverley
    Word Wench 2006-2016

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    Word Wench 2006-2009

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June 2023

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  • Years published: 164

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Sue McCormick

A most interesting post. I would never have thought about old books in these way, so now you have intrigued me.

I don't think I have any favorite as such. — Although I always thriledl by finding characters reading a novel by "the author of 'Sense and Sensibility'" because I know this is true to the period. (I also know that she wasn't as popular then as she is today.) My pleasure is diminished if the author is named in the novel I'm reading.

Mary Jo Putney

Susanna, I am AWED! You're adding a whole new layer of authenticity to your wonderful books. And I'll bet you have so much fun researching these books that it's hard to tear yourself away. *G*


Thank you for a fascinating post, Susanna. I'll now be paying more attention to what the characters in historical novels are reading.

Anne Gracie

Wow, Susanna — I'm impressed. I never go into this much detail in my books. I might occasionally mention a book title that's relevant, but that's as far as I go.

I do love that so many of these old books are available on line. I've made good use of some travelers' journals from the time and place setting of my books, but that's about all.

Susanna Kearsley

Every period does have different conventions for naming the author (or not), although there are always exceptions.

I'm just very glad "the author of 'Sense and Sensibility'" continues to find new readers in our modern age, because her books are lovely :-)

Susanna Kearsley

It's one of my most favourite rabbit holes. I can get lost reading those books, and often find passages or phrases that end up triggering bits of a scene or an exchange of dialogue between my own characters. It's really fun!

Susanna Kearsley

Glad you enjoyed it, Kareni. I do love old books.

Susanna Kearsley

I'll make a convert of you yet, Anne :-) Tell you what, next novel you work on, perhaps you should have me find a book or two for your heroine's library...?

Mary M.

I adore coming across authentic details in Regencies and other historical novels. I get a feeling of belonging to some delicious secret society. (Conversely, throw me an incorrect factoid like "they went shopping in a pantheon"—ugh—and I'm out of that book in a flash.) More than once I've Kindle-clicked through to a mentioned book/author (e.g., Fanny Burney, Ann Radcliffe, Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto) and snuggled even deeper into a world I can only visit through books.

Teresa Broderick

Old books! The smell! The feel! Heaven!!!!!

Mary T

To tell the truth, unless the book was relevant to the story I was reading, I don't think I would take much notice of it.

However, I do understand the affinity for old books. I have two school books from the 1920s. One belonged to my mother and the other to an aunt who died when she was just 18 - many years before I was born. I also have a prayer book that belonged to a great aunt that dates back to the 19th century.

Every now and then I go through purging periods where I want to get rid of things I don't need or no longer use any longer. These are not important books, but for some reason, I have just never been able to let them go. When I pick them up and touch them it is almost like touching my ancestors who owned them once upon a time.

Michelle H

How I loved your sharing your library authenticity research in this post. Whenever I read how impressed Elizabeth is with the vastness of Pemberley's library and is told it has been the efforts by several generations of Darcys, I want to be there myself looking at those shelves discovering those books. And every time an author names the shared love of certain authors, poets or book titles I highlight those on my e-reader. And try to remember to look them up later. I love these historic details.

However, if I were a time traveler alas, today an average education no longer has students learning to read in multiple languages, so many of those titles would be lost to me.

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