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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

Contact Us


  • Want to read ALL the posts by a specific Wench? Just scroll down to the bottom of her post and click on her name!

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


« Giving Thanks | Main | The Reading Woman »


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Mary Jo Putney

Thanks, Andrea--

Non-violent reads, romances, and Christmas tales--just what is needed to end this rather challenging year!

Andrea Penrose


Christina Courtenay

Thank you so much, Andrea - I'm really pleased you enjoyed The Runes of Destiny!

As always, this post has added lots of books to my TBR pile!

Donna H.

If you like a bit of fantasy, a bit of SF and a bit of romance, try "A Lot like Christmas" by Connie Willis. I highly recommend it. Also any book by Kate Morton, big fat family sagas with a twist. For non fiction, I am looking forward to reading "Royal Blood" King Richard III
and the mystery of the Princes by Bertram Fields.

Sue Moorcroft

Thanks so much for choosing Christmas Wishes, Christina! Can it only be a year ago we were in Sweden together? I enjoyed that trip so much.

Andrea Penrose

I Loved it, Pia, and know our readers will, too. And yes, love seeing what everyone else is reading. The TBR pile is groaning!

Andrea Penrose

These sound terrific, Donna. This monthly post is always very dangerous for the piggybank!

Pamela DG

Last month I started catching up on the Christmas stories I bought last year and didn't get to. So Edith Layton's holiday collection is in the TBR, Some of Grace Burrowes' Duke's Daughters are in the line up, too. I'll probably reread my collection of MJP's Christmas novellas. Hers are among some of my favorites, Christmas Cuckoo, Beast of Belleterre, and One Wicked Winter Night are well worth revisiting on a cold winter's night!

Mary T

I am still doing a lot of re-reads. I have so many books on my kindle that I have forgotten how good some of them are. One of these is THE LADY MOST WILLING, a novel in three parts, by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway. Neither of Laird Taran Ferguson's two nephews have married quickly enough to suit him. So, being the eccentric character he is, he decides to kidnap a few prospective brides for them. A snowstorm and a drafty castle add to the fun.

One new read I have done this month is THE POSTMISTRESS by Alison Stuart. I think I discovered Ms. Stuart on this website not too long ago. I really enjoyed the book. Takes place in Australia circa 1871. Looking forward to reading THE GOLDMINER'S SISTER which looks to be a continuation - at least it takes place in the same setting.

And this post certainly offers some good suggestions for some new Christmas readings I would like to try. Thank you.

Andrea Penrose

Oh, Edith's holiday stories are always a joy! As are Mary Jo's!

I'm a big fan of Grave Burrowes, so heartily agree on the Duke's Daughters. You have some fun reading ahead of you, Pamela!

Andrea Penrose

Mary, how can Quinn, James and Brockway fail to delight!

Yes, Alison Stuart has been mentioned here, and I have some of her book on my TBR pile. Sounds like I must move them up!

Minna Puustinen

I'm reading A Gift from Bob by James Bowen and I can't wait to see the movie based on the book.

Jeanne Behnke

I'm reading The Forgotten Sister by Nicola. Wow - I can hardly put it down it's so good.

Andrea Penrose

Isn't it wonderful!

Andrea Penrose

Thanks for sharing, Minna. I'm not familiar with that book. Will go check it out!

Christina Courtenay

It’s such a wonderful story - I loved it! And yes, time flies - hope we can go back soon again!

Christina Courtenay

Bob is a wonderful cat, isn’t he? I loved the first movie about him!

Pamela DG

If I need a break from the Christmasy stories, my TBR has wonderful mysteries, too. Your most recent Wrexford and Sloane is topping copies of Winspeare, Perry, and Finch among others!

Andrea Penrose

Thank you so much, Pamela! I'm honored to be such such great company. Those are three of my favorite mystery authors! Their books are wonderful.

Anne Gracie

Donna, I'm a fan of Kate Morton's books too.


Since last time ~

— read Boundary Haunted (Boundary Magic) by Melissa F. Olson. You’d need to read the series in order as this volume builds on its predecessors.
— the novella Bloodsick: An Old World Tale by Melissa F. Olson. It’s in the same world as the book I mentioned above, but it stands alone. You can read it for FREE in The Witching Hour: 10 Enchanting Novels Featuring Witches, Wizards, Vampires, Shifters, Ghosts, Fae, and More!
— the contemporary romance You Lucky Dog by Julia London; it was entertaining and made me laugh aloud a few times.
— a reread of Anne Bishop’s Lake Silence (The World of the Others); I enjoyed it once again.

— The Roommate by Rosie Danan. I was trying to decide whether or not to describe this as a romance since I’m not used to romances that include a Readers guide. In any event, the book is self described as a contemporary romance and I enjoyed it.
— the contemporary romance Well Met by Jen DeLuca; it was an enjoyable read.
— Written on His Skin by Simone Stark, a novella which I enjoyed. This was Winner: Best Novella of 2017, Romance Writers of America, Erotic Romance Chapter.
— quite enjoyed Refuge: An Intergalactic Space Opera Series (Tradepoint Saga Book 1) by JJ Blacklocke and look forward to reading the next book in the series which is due in January. The only downside was that there were a few too many tears (in the book, not from me!).
— The previous book inspired me to read the free prequel which I obtained by signing up for the author’s newsletter. If interested, go to http://www.jjblacklocke.com ….Venna (Tradepoint Saga, Prequel) by JJ Blacklocke.
— read with pleasure Michelle Diener’s new novella, The Rising Wave, which is available in the 1351 page multi author anthology Warlords, Witches and Wolves: A Fantasy Realms Anthology.
— read and enjoyed Glass Tidings: A MM Holiday Romance by Amy Jo Cousins; this story had more depth than many other stories I’ve recently read.

— For my local book group, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This was an interesting mix of nature writing and mystery; it’s the author’s first novel, but she’d already published three books about her work as a wildlife scientist in Africa. It was a gripping read with an ending that surprised me.
— Companion Pieces: Stories from the Old World and Beyond by Melissa F. Olson; it’s a compilation of stories that I quite enjoyed. I’d recommend this book to those who’ve already read books by the author.
— Killing Trail (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery Book 1) by Margaret Mizushima; this is the first book in a mystery series and I enjoyed it.

— For my old book group that I was invited to rejoin via Zoom, I read Saturday by Ian McEwan. It was an incredibly introspective novel.
— the contemporary romance Lies and Lullabies (Hush Note Book 1) by Sarina Bowen which I enjoyed.
— Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher which was an enjoyable novella. The author says that she thinks of it as a children’s book; however, others feel otherwise. I can see that it has appeal over a wide range of ages.
— Plus a host of book samples.

Vicki L

I haven't done much reading (old or new) this month as I went on a serious "purge my world of useless items" binge.

At the beginning of November the comments by Donna H and Susan Ward to Nicola's Timeslip Keeper post inspired me to reread The Nonsuch by Mary Luke again. It was, as always, a very satisfying read. Tudor, Georgian, modern (as in 1980's modern I think).Love story, adventure and reincarnation.

My Last Duchess by Eloisa James. That was a lovely, tender romance. Usually I find the prequel/sequel's aren't as good as the original characters but this one was very well done. It is reaching back to show how Ophelia came to marry Hugo Wilde, the Duke of Lindow. The father of all the Wilde children. I really enjoyed it.

I also read Seduction on a Snowy Night which had Mary Jo's story about Lady Diana in it. Another lovely, lovely story.

The Christmas Bride by Anne Gracie - that was such a fun story. Really love that duck!

Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie. The H/h are both middle aged. It was a very meaty romance and I enjoyed it very much. Everyone in this book had to grow and adapt. Those who didn't became very pathetic people. There was also a mystery running through the book.

There were also several that didn't live up to my expectations. I muttered thank goodness I got them from the library and didn't spend my money on. The stories were fine but it was the style of writing that just put me off. I like complete sentences and paragraphs...which the Wenches ALWAYS write. An entire book of herky jerky writing is arrghhh.

Nicola Cornick

Thank you so much, Jeanne - you've made my day! I'm so happy you're enjoying The Forgotten Sister!

Minna Puustinen

Me too! And the books, including the kids book.


I thought that I might escape all the current doom and gloom with a little time travel and chose 'The Psychology of Time Travel' by Kate Mascarenhas..... big mistake! The way that hallowed conservation laws were ignored pained my inner scientist and moreover the author explored the unpleasant mental disorders that could arise, hence the title. To recover I think I will now pick one of the delightful Christmas stories highlighted here or dig out a Balogh 5-star re-read, maybe 'Snow Angels' or 'Christmas Belle' or 'A Christmas Promise' .... something guaranteed to make me smile!

Minna Puustinen

Check out other James Bowen's books, too! It's part of the series Bob The Cat: A Street Cat Named Bob, The World According to Bob and A Gift from Bob. And in the movies Bob actually plays himself.



Andrea Penrose

Oh, this sounds delightful!

Andrea Penrose

An amazing list, as always, Kareni! Thanks so much for sharing.I always get such fabulous recommendations for new-to-me authors from you. (Though I have to hide wallet under the couch!)

I loved Where the Crawdads Sing. It was a different sort of read for me, but I found it really moving, and yes, the end was a suprise. Beautiful writing, especially about nature.

Andrea Penrose

Vicki, you managed to read some lovely books while doing your "purging" (You're an inspiration to tackle all the stuffed closets!)

Anne's Christmas story is delightful, isn't it? And duck is a sweetheart! And of course, Mary Jo's is a perfect winter night read!

Eloisa James is always a favorite of mine, too. I haven't yet read My Last Duchess, so will move that up on the TRB list. As always, thanks for sharing!

Andrea Penrose

Oh, dear, Quantum. It's always very disappointing when you have high hopes for a book, but it just doesn't resonate. if one is going to write about science, one ought make sure that one gets the basics right.

F I think you will definitely have a more enjoyable time with all the Christmas stories mentioned here. Don't miss Anne's new one!

Patricia Rice

LOL, Quantum! Definitely read Christmas stories after that. Avoid depressing for a few more months...

Annette N

I just finished Christmas anthology by Edith Layton. It was lovely.

Recently, I have had my ups and downs with reading.

I believe I am going to go to my keeper shelves and get a couple of the Signet Christmas books I have. I believe going back will make me more into the Christmas spirit.

I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

Andrea Penrose

Ah—another shout-out for Edith's lovely collection. The Signet anthologies are also fun reads. The Christmas spirit does seem a little elusive this year, but books can really help spark a bright warmth.

Teresa Broderick

Some great recommendations as always. I've just downloaded The Christmas Bride as I want to start reading some feel good seasonal books. Also looking forward to The Runes of Destiny. LOVED the last one Christine.
I've had a mixed bag of reading of late as I've been reading books for NetGalley and book club reads. There have been a few Agatha Christie's and Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer.
I read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and I loved it. Different to what I usually read but very interesting.
A Telegram from Berlin by A O Connor is a brilliant read. I love his books but felt he missed the mark with the last two, however, he's well back on form with this one.
There have been too many more to mention here. I'm also looking forward to Jane Austen's Best Friend mentioned here. Love anything to do with Austen.

Andrea Penrose

A wonderful list, Teresa! I promise you'll love Anne and Christina's new books! And Heyer is always a comfort read, something we need going into the teeth of winter.

I have The Midnight Library on my TBR pile. So glad you enjoyed it. I can't wait to dive in!

Anne Gracie

"read with pleasure Michelle Diener’s new novella, The Rising Wave"

Yes, I read that too and enjoyed it, Kareni. And since it was the prequel to a new series set in that world, I preordered the book.

Anne Gracie

Thanks so much, Vicki, I'm so glad you enjoyed my Christmas novella -- and the not-for-eating duck

I am impressed with your purge. I need to do that too and am dreading it.


I always read Christmas novellas at this time of year, and so far Anne's "The Christmas Bride" has been the best; the other new ones so far have been mediocre. I did reread, "Once Upon a Christmas" by Diane Farr which was a delightful sweet romance. It has a wonderful cat character, Manegold, who adopts the heroine, and he steals every scene he is in from the humans.
I have been reading the Verity Kent mysteries, a post World War I era series by Anne Lee Huber. It's addictive, but you definitely need to start with the first book, "This Side of Murder", because it has quite a plot twist that affects all subsequent books. I'm about to read book 4, "A Pretty Deceit" and then sadly I'll have to wait for the author to write another one.
I loved "The Prince" by Katherine Ashe, against my first inclination. The writing is gorgeously descriptive, the characters are wonderful, and the romance is a long, slow burn. But I say against my inclination because I didn't realize how angsty it was going to be. These days I am looking for fun, lightweight reads, and this was not that book. But it was worth it in the end. It's unusual after reading hundreds of historicals not to know where the story is going, but this one, I had no idea how the author would get to an HEA, but she did, beautifully. I realized partway through that it is the last of a series, but it made no difference, it works fine as a standalone.


My earlier post did not turn up yet, but rather than post a duplicate I'll just hope it's in internet limbo somewhere. I did want to add another book I forgot to mention. At long last, "Red Adam's Lady" is available as an e-book! It's also on Scribd, which I subscribe to. Based on a Wenchly recommendation(I don't remember who), I read a very ancient paperback copy my local library had, years ago. I was very happy to be able to reread and enjoy it again. Such a great book!

Mary Jo Putney

Vicki, you've had quite the reading splurge! I'm glad you like my Panda story, and of course Anne's novella is totally delicious. I do love holiday stories. You have a good one!

Andrea Penrose

SO sorry—Typepad is having tech glitches and some comments are inadvertently going to spam. We're working on getting the problem resolved

Andrea Penrose

We've got both up now, Karin. Sorry for the problems.


Weighing in very late here. I had hip replacement surgery on Nov 16, and once the drugs wore off, I began the pleasure I’d promised myself - recovering while reading and re-reading Christmas romances! And I started with Anne’s of course - The Christmas Bride will definitely be a re-read many times over. In addition to the other aspects noted in these Comments, I loved the chess games and the various chess sets mentioned. I have a small collection of sets, but none carved by a handsome hero from twigs, I regret to say! The only other first-time read for me so far has been Edith Layton’s An Enchanted Regency Christmas - definitely enchanting and, as always with her wonderful Christmas stories, full of surprises, too. Most of my other re-reads have already been mentioned here, so I will add one not yet mentioned, that is a Victorian Romance, A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews. It’s a lovely story full of classic misunderstandings, lovely awakenings, and a spendthrift father who almost bankrupts his family to indulge his tastes for modernization.
May I just say that while I gobble up every Wench blog post, the What We’ve Been Reading posts, and the Comments that always follow, are just the best fun - often expensive, but always worth it! Thank you all for another wonderful year of reading - and didn’t we need it in 2020!

Teresa Broderick

I do hope you enjoy it Andrea. I read his How To Stop Time and loved it too.


Constance, wishing you a speedy recovery and some happy reading time!

Julia Gasper

I love these What We're Reading articles as they offer so many good ideas for Christmas presents, apart from anything else. Does anyone know if Carpet Diem is available in printed form, as I don't know how to give a kindle book as a gift?

Julia Gasper

PS I found a printed edition online actually, and have bought it now. It looks just right for someone...

Andrea Penrose

So glad you found a print copy, Julia.

Just FYI. Amazon does provide an option for sending an e-book gift to someone. Look in the top right corner of the window, and tou'll see "buy as a gift" is a choice,

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