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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

Word Wenches Staff

Wench Staff Emeritae

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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:

    NY Times

    • Wall Street Journal

    • USA Today

    • Waldenbooks Mass Market

    • Barnes & Noble

    • Amazon.com

    Chicago Tribune

    • Rocky Mountain News

    • Publishers Weekly


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Andrea Penrose

A wonderful post, Mary Jo. This is my neck of the woods, and I can second your nice words on the charms and history of this part of New England. Block Island is a wonderful, low-key place, and mainland Rhode Island has so many historic places to explore. The nooks and crannies of the coat have many small charming towns that make poking around so much fun.

So sorry you didn't get to Nantucket, which is amazingly beautiful—and the whaling museum there is fascinating, as you can imagine, as the island was one of the great whaling ports of of the country.

I think you need to come back in better weather!

Mary Jo Putney

Andrea, I was disappointed to miss Nantucket, but as you say, there is so MUCH to see in your part of the world! I've always had an affinity for New England (my ancestors lived there for a couple of centuries), and it's been too long since I've visited.

Andrea Penrose

Well, as I said, you just have to come back soon. (Hint, hint: Connecticut has LOTS of wonderful history, and some charming coastlines and quaint New England towns! I'm just saying . . .)

Maggie Robinson

Jealous! I used to live in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and have vacationed on RI's coast and Nantucket. Park me near water and I am happy! I had a lobster roll just Saturday on my daughter's island of Islesboro when I went to visit. Or should I say two and a half lobster rolls, LOL. So glad you had a wonderful trip!

Sue McCormick

While we lived in the greater NYC area and worked in Manhattan, we once made a flying trip to Mystic Connecticut, We toured Mystic, but there were no beds. So we ended up in Providence (and, as a bonus, had a tour of some Providence high spots the next day). I have fond memories of that trip.

(And, should you be interested the time-line places this trip BEFORE the filming of Mystic Pizza.)


I attended graduated school in Providence in the eighties and went back last year for my first visit since; there have been significant changes but some places still remain as I remember. My husband and I also visited Bristol on our trip which was a first for both of us. Lots of history all around. Thanks for a fun post, Mary Jo.

Andrea Penrose

Ha, ha, ha! As it happens, a good friend of mine wrote the screenplay for Mystic Pizza! It's a fun movie–but yes, put sleepy little Mystic, an old seaport town , on the tourist map. (It was also Julia Roberts's first movie!)

Mary Jo Putney

Maggie, you showed great restraint in not going for the second half of the third lobster roll. *G*

Mary Jo Putney

I enjoyed Mystic Pizza, and even though she was unknown then, Julia Roberts had a quality that riveted the attention.

Mary Jo Putney

Kareni, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Isn't Bristol great? I want to go back and spend more time!


I once spent a lovely weekend in Block Island. While we were eating out one night there was a power outage, apparently a frequent occurence, because the staff brought out lamps and candles, and dinner continued to be served without missing a beat. It was a very dark walk back to our B&B however! I'd love to visit Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, I can't believe I've missed them despite living on the East Coast of the U.S. my entire life!

Mary Jo Putney

Karin--this is why I keep a mini-flashlight in my purse--because you just never know. *G* Block Island now has what I think is the first offshore wind farm so they have a lot better access to electricity. But even so, the lights can go out! I'm still hoping we get to Nantucket one of these days.

Anne Gracie

It sounds like a lovely trip, even with the bad weather and the missed stops. It's an area I've always wanted to see more of. One day . . .

Lynda X

I live in and love RI. The best time to come is around Columbus Day. It's cooler then and the leaves are usually turning. If you like history, you are surrounded by it, as well as the most spectacular beaches in the US, if not the world. RI is so small that you can drive through it in about 2, 3 hours--tops--and across it in a couple of hours. That makes Rhode Islanders feel put upon if we have to drive anywhere over say, 20, 30 minutes. If I could only see one town in RI, it would be Newport with its many mansions, open to the public. It also has more colonial houses, still privately owned and also many open to the public, than any other city in the US. Many were restored by Doris Duke. As a former tour guide, I saw all the mansions and my favorite is Ava Vanderbuilt's Marble House. She was a fascinating, headstrong woman who forced her daughter Consuelo to marry an English Duke (momentarily, I can't remember which one). Ava kept her confined to her room on bread and water, literally, until she gave in. Historians say that when Ava divorced her husband (keeping their mansions), she became a pariah. Consuelo, was very unhappily married and she, too, divorced her husband. Her mother went on to become a strong supporter of women voting. In the gift shop you can buy the blue and white china she designed that says, "Votes for Women." Newport's visible history goes back to colonial days; the dastardly British burned the city down during its occupation when the French freed it with their fleet. Right now, we think we have found Captain Cook's Endeavor in which he discovered Australia in the first circling of the world. The Endeavor, renamed Lord Sandwich, was sunk--along with the rest of the English fleet--so the French could not use the ships during the Revolution. I could go on and on about RI and what to see, but I will spare you. It's a lovely little state.

PS. I graduated from Bristol High, and the town is associated with the richest colonial family--the DeWolfs who were big slave traders and a later descendant married Samuel Colt (you know, the inventor of the six shooter) and the Barrymores. My high school was built by the Colts. I'll stop now. Really.

Mary Jo Putney

Lynda X, in just the three short days we spent in Rhode Island, I was dazzled by the richness and variety of the history! I was told about the DeWolfes during our personally guided tour, and they were a fascinating lot, though the slave running revolts me. Bristol is lovely, though. I'd love to return to Rhode Island and spend a week or two poking around.

Laura Tilley

Great post! I went to Block Island this summer for the first time, but still want to see all the other places you named. What a disappointment to have to miss a few places. I guess you'll have to go back!

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