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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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    • USA Today

    • Waldenbooks Mass Market

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    Chicago Tribune

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« The Joys of Friendship | Main | Giving Old Books A Makeover »


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Melony Teague

I love it! I had one of those blue typewriters as a teenager. I don't know what happened to it! (*sad face)

Brenda Margriet

Nevil is perfect for him - and I, too, love Nevil Shute. I really need to get a copy of the Pied Piper to read again. That's my favourite, but my copy was in one of those huge hardcover omnibus versions in red fake leather and all the pages fell out and I had to let it go.

My first typewriter cost me almost 300 dollars in the early 1980's and was HALF electric - it had an electric keyboard but manual return. Still not sure what the point of that was. :)

Pamela DG

Best Wishes to you and Nevil. I still write by hand when the "Blinking Cursor of Death" is mocking me. Nevil will be patient, just waiting there for your muse to inspire you. No pressure, no impatient blinking as you stare at a blank screen. He'll be a good companion.


Love this story! Hello, Neville!

Lillian Marek

Up in the attic I have my mother's old typewriter. I don't know how old it is — 1930s probably. It's a black portable, and the keys are black with white letters and a metal rim around them.
I can remember when I was a teenager spending summer days on the porch writing romantic stories on that typewriter. It has a permanent place in my heart even though my arthritic fingers would have a hard job typing on it now.

Jennifer Fanklin

I used one of those typewriters many many years ago. Nice to meet you Nevil.


I'm not much on manual typewriters - I had a Smith Corona in college and it hurt my fingers - but when I left my job I so wished I had taken my IBM correcting Selectric along with me. Once in a while you meet a machine with perfect touch and it pains to lose it.

Mary Jo Putney

LOL! My entire writing career is a direct result of getting my first computer and finding that I could write stories on it because when I fixed something, it STAYED fixed! Nonetheless, I adore Nevil and his story and his happy ending. (Favorite Nevil Shute novel: TRUSTEE FROM THE TOOLROOM.)

Morgan Tarpley Smith

I love this so much, Susanna!!! One day when i have a writing desk space I plan to have a typewriter too!! I’ve loved them since i was a kid. My boss at the newspaper only used a manual typewriter up until 10 years ago when his heart surgery left him too sore to type so he had to switch to a computer. It still sits faithfully at his desk though.

Susanna Kearsley

Melony, maybe it will come back to you. Susie Benton, from Sourcebooks, also had that exact typewriter (or one very like it), and typing on it at the store brought back a lot of great memories for her.

Susanna Kearsley

I've never seen a half-electric typewriter! What an intriguing concept. Sounds like the kind of odd thing we would create back in the 80s, though... :-)

Susanna Kearsley

Pamela, I write by hand sometimes, too (especially in the bathtub, when my characters decide to start talking to each other and I have to grab whatever paper is nearby and try to get their dialogue down before I lose it!). But in general, my thoughts move too quickly for my hand to keep up, and I was fortunate enough to have been able to persuade my guidance counsellor in High School to let me take touch-typing (I was in the Academic stream, typing was in the Business stream, and he didn't think I'd need it, so I had to convince him it might come in useful if I ever had to type an essay at university...). So keyboards are the only way I can (almost) keep pace with my thoughts when the words are coming quickly.

Susanna Kearsley

Nevil says hello back!

Susanna Kearsley

Lillian, one of the fun offshoots of all of this for me has been how much I've learned about old typewriters! There are so many different makes and models, all so individual. Does your typewriter have any maker's name on it?

Susanna Kearsley

Nevil says hey, Jennifer :-)

Susanna Kearsley

I know exactly what you mean. I typed the first draft of my very first novel on the self-correcting electric typewriter (can't remember the make) from the museum where I was working back in the late 1980s. I do remember it had a cartridge ribbon, because I used to swap out the ribbon cartridge and use my own for the book, so I wouldn't be using museum supplies for personal purposes :-) It was a lovely machine.

Susanna Kearsley

I LOVE Trustee from the Toolroom. It is such an underrated classic. My favourite Shute will probably always be A Town Like Alice, because of the romance and because it was the first of his that I ever read, and because it's probably the reason I write dual-time novels now; but the racism in it, which I always found jarring, stands out even more now, so I do have to mentally compartmentalize a few bits as I read. But Trustee from the Toolroom is such a lovely character study of a quiet, ordinary man who turns out to be anything but ordinary, in the end. I truly love that book.

Susanna Kearsley

Morgan, your typewriter will probably find you, when the time comes. Like Nevil found me. (And I hope your boss is feeling better after his surgery).

Mary Jo Putney

Hmmm, I read A Town Like Alice several times when I was much younger, but not recently. Maybe it's better I don't reread it. The basic story line is great, though.


I went to using a manual typewriter last year, and find it works better for first-drafting than anything else I've done.

The main challenge is that the keys are different from a keyboard, so when I'm switching from the typewriter back to the computer, I sometimes have trouble remembering where my apostrophe went. :D

Glad that lovely old Royal found a home, and I hope you enjoy it for years to come. :-)

Binnie Syril Braunstein

Susanna - I used to have a powder blue Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriter, with its own case. My sister got to have an Olympia manual with a wide carriage. My favorite electric typewriter was the IBM Selectric II. I just loved the feel of those keys under my fingers. When I finally bought my electric typewriter, the Selectric II was no longer available for purchase - not new, anyway, so I got the Selectric III. I used it to write many short stories, and the beginning drafts of my first book - but the keys didn't feel the same. The II had slick keys with a depression for the fingers; the III had flat matte keys, which I never liked. When I got the III, which I bought at an IBM store, I slavered over the more expensive models with 1 line of visible type, or even 10 lines of visible type. I used to dream about those 10 lines. (Who ever heard of a megabyte or gigabyte?) As for Nevil Shute, I loved No Highway, which was made into a movie with Jimmy Stewart playing Theodore Honey. I found No Highway to be quite a cautionary tale. Every time I flew, I'd think of Theodore Honey trying to convince people that the plane was going to shake apart. I also loved A Town Like Alice, which was a multi-part show on PBS eons ago. In both cases, the movie/telelay led me to the book. Enjoy your Nevil. He sounds lovely...I smiled at the reaction of the TSA person - "It's a typewriter!"


I still have my old blue Smith Corona typewriter that I was given as a young girl doing what was then referred to as Office Studies at school. Sadly Bessie no longer functions but I can't bear to part with her.

Pamela DG

I know what you mean. My thoughts run faster than I can type, so after writing a passage, I have to fill in the gaps immediately afterward, before the moment or conversation slip away. I do better with my lap top. Writing in the bathtub, I can identify. I was in a hotel enjoying a relaxing soak in the jacuzzi and my characters start talking. The trip was genealogical in nature so I thought they to might take a vacation. I did have a notebook to write thoughts about my visits and cemetery research when my heroine's daughter starts talking to me with some great observations about her Momma and the Hero. Where did that come from? So here I am sitting on the edge of the jacuzzi, soaking my weary feet, pencil and pad in hand writing!

Annette N

I had a wonderful Remington portable. It was with me for years, and I liked it.

But, I found my own true love - an IBM Selectric many years later.

Just as you describe, the touch, the keys, everything about it was perfect for me.

It fit like a glove.

You know key boards have different sounds, etc. But, nothing has ever thrilled me like my IBM Selectric.

Teresa Broderick

I LOVE this story! How wonderful to rescue him from the shop. I hope ye have many happy hours together:)

Mary M.

Better watch out, Susanna. Crazy cat ladies have gotten their start with less motivation. (Ask me how I know, lol.) Maybe Nevil needs a sassy little Selectric sister ...

Jeanne Behnke

What a wonderful story! I'm glad you rescued Nevil!!


My favorite Nevil Shute adaptation is On the Beach - the version with Gregory Peck and Fred Astaire. Haunting.


Welcome, Susanna, to your bouncing baby typewriter!

Hello there, Nevil. I hope that you and your person will be very happy together.

My parents had a copy of A Town Like Alice for many years; I suspect it dates from their time in Mt. Isa in the sixties. Now I'm thinking I should read something by Nevil Shute. What to read, what to read?

Cindy A

My husband is obsessed with manual typewriters! He has 25!! The oldest is an Oliver (made in Chicago) made in 1913. One of his favs is a Hermes -Swiss made, Olivetti - Italian made, Corona (1919) that folds! See the documentary called California Typewriter. Tom Hanks has a great collection.
BTW - you can get ribbons on Amazon. You should wind it on the original spools to keep it authentic.
We love going to antique stores and rescuing typewriters, cleaning them up, and maybe selling them to another typewriter lover. Pre-teens are beginning to get into them. My hubby sold a few to parents who homeschooled their kids. Craig's list has typewriters for sell - we see a lot of them there.
There is a group here called Typewriter Rodeo - they go somewhere, bring their typewriter and type poetry for you right there!
Careful, this is a rabbit hole you could fall into!!!!!

Cindy A

Yes, you have to find the one that fits your fingers. I have small ones. I love the glass keys and the tombstone keys. And the touch is important. Have fun!


Susan, if you happen to check back and read this....

Bessie is probably repairable, but you'll need to find a typewriter shop in your state, or else take the expensive and risky route of shipping. If you scroll down to the bottom of this link, there's a list by state, and you may find more listed online by searching your state + typewriter repair. It's surprising how many places are doing it these days.



I always liked the IBM Selectric typewriters that were commonly used in offices. I loved the hum they made when you turned them on. Believe it or not, there was one still in use in the law office I worked in, in the 2000's, because there were still a few legal forms that had to be filled out with a typewriter, there were no electronic versions of them online.

Sue McCormick

I'm SO glad you found the typewriter that fits! As SOON as I met word processors, i never went back to the typewriter. I was born for the Word Processor and had to wait 50-some years for it to appear.

But though I struggled against strikeovers (they happened before I knew i was doing it) I did have a good relationship with my father's Underwood, and my husband kept his Remington for years, long after we owned his and her computers. So i do understand your love of Nevil. (I too loved Nevil Shute.)

Vicki L

I forget what kind of typewriter I had but long after I quit using it I still had it. Until my mom wanted to give one to one of my nephews and I said sure, I'm not doing anything with it. He loved it. (That was 20 years ago I think.)

My mom and dad still have my grandmother's snazzy purple one.

As for typing class...now everyone needs to know how to type! There is no job where it wouldn't be faster if you knew how to type correctly on a keyboard.

Nevil Shute...love the two books I've read by him - Trustee in the Toolroom and A Town like Alice. I kept an eye out for copies to put on my Keeper shelf. Just the other day I was thinking about rereading Trustee of the Toolroom. Hmm, I think I read On the Beach but didn't care for it as much. Definitely never looked for a copy of to own.

Julie Laird

"Which made me think, Hold on a minute—do you mean this little typewriter of mine has been REJECTED? That people have come in and tried him out and thought of buying him and changed their minds because he didn’t have a case? Because, if you know me at all, you’ll know this means I’ll only love him more, and want to rescue him and take him home."

This is so me that I might have well have written this sentence. Congratulations on your new "rescue".

Julie Laird

I meant "might as well" Hmmm, if I had a typewriter, I wouldn't have had an autocorrect fail...

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