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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

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    • RWA Top 10 Favorite

    • RT Lifetime Achievement

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    • 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

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    Booklist Top 10

    • Booktopia Top 10

    • Golden Apple Award for Lifetime Achievement

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    Chicago Tribune

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« Tiny Things | Main | A panel discussion »


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Christina Courtenay

Fascinating post, Andrea, and amazing that you found an engraving of Jackson's fist! He must have been formidable indeed. I can't say I'm a huge sports fan - my favourite is ice hockey - but if I have a person or team to cheer for, I'm happy to watch most things.

Mary Jo Putney

Andrea, as interesting as the boxiana is, what most intrigued me was your description of the 14' long Cruikshank etching of 'going to the boxing match.' Wonderful that you can see the last of the original versions in your own backyard, but it's an intriguing example of a 19th century art form, the long, enveloping painting of a famous site. There is one in the museum at Gettysburg that encircles a whole room and one enters the viewing area from below. It's a real 'you are there' viewing example, and I know there were a number of such things done in--first half of the 19th century? Or maybe somewhat longer? Some of these expanded scenes were toured to different towns and people paid to see them. Have fun visiting your boxing scene!

Mary T

The only sport that interests me at all is figure skating and the last thing that I would want to see is two people punching each other. In the early days of TV I would watch wrestling with my dad because it was TV and TV was such a novelty that I would have watched anything. I usually fell asleep watching it.

But I love following you guys down the rabbit hole. I like to chase those rabbits myself. Back in the day I had to use encyclopedias. The Internet makes it so much easier. Loved this post.


What a fascinating post, Andrea! (Admittedly, I can't see the charm of voluntarily being hit by another person.) I am indeed familiar with Gentleman Jackson,so it was neat to see his fist.

Binnie Syril Braunstein

Fun post, Andrea. It brings all those scenes at Jackson's much more into focus. I do like to watch sports, actually. I used to watch baseball, but it's not on broadcast TV much any more. I've occasionally gotten caught up in college basketball tournaments and selected football games. Over the years, I've loved to watch Olympic sports such as ice skating and gymnastics and the diving. And I've discovered to my amazement that I enjoy watching the occasional golf tournament. Two of my friends are rabid golfers and they don't mind the more-than-occasional dumb questions.


I like most sports but am not keen on martial arts, particularly boxing where the aim is to render the opponent unconscious.

Soccer, cricket, athletics and tennis are favorites, probably because I have participated in my time.

Fascinating to see the history of pugilism laid out like this. Puts Gentleman Jackson's boxing salon in perspective .... thanks!


I recently found myself rereading a lot of Georgette Heyer and one of the titles was "Regency Buck", which opens with the heroine and her brother arriving at Grantham to find the town crowded with spectators who were there for the second Cribb-Molineaux fight. We get a fairly detailed account of the brother attending the fight - no respectable women spectators of course - and I have to admit that this is pretty much the only thing I've ever read about old style pugilism.

So clearly another author has been down the rabbit hole before you. I assume that the book's account is pretty reliable as Heyer cared a lot about history (even though she was constructing a fantasy Georgette-Heyer Land). However, she was not infallible as I noticed a minor military detail that is probably wrong - which I had missed in a couple of prior readings, and anyway I can dream up a bit of back story to justify it if pushed (hence my "probably").

Definitely not a boxing fan myself. In fact, since I got old I pretty much only watch the cricket, other sports having dropped by the wayside.


I am not a sports afficionado and I can't say that I care for boxing at all.
Still the question about the legal issues around boxing mills is interesting so I couldn't help myself and went down a few rabbit holes myself.
I assume you've seen this article https://edoc.hu-berlin.de/bitstream/handle/18452/17268/ungar.pdf?sequence=1 which on pp. 39 to 45 deals with the legal issues of prize fighting. Apparently there was no law directly against boxing, but prize fights were often seen as breaches of peace (against which there were laws) The article also states that it was basically up to the local magistrate how he viewed pugilism. So there was no uniform practice.

Andrea Penrose

Thanks, Christina! So glad you enjoyed the post. I've read so much about Gentleman Jackson, and have mentioned him in my Regency novels, so it was such fun to discover the engraving of hs first! He really was a celebrity in his day!

Andrea Penrose

Mary Jo, these panorama prints really are amazing. I think people were so curious to see parts of the country or famous places that they weren't able to visit, so loved getting a real flavor for what they looked liked. Armchair traveling before the age of photography! I can't wait to go see the original!

Andrea Penrose

Thank you, Mary. Glad you enjoy the dives down the rabbit holes!

LOL on watching wrestling! I re,member doing that with my brothers! Such a spectacle!

I am not a boxing fan, but I enjoy the major tennis and golf tournaments. (Nobody is punching their competitors!)

Andrea Penrose

Yes, I have no desire to have someone "plant a facer" on me either, Kareni!

The Gentleman Jackson fist was delightful to discover. The rabbit holes really are fun!

Andrea Penrose

Glad you enjoyed the post, Binnie. I like watching golf, too, as I took it up a while back and now appreciate how hard it is to do well! I actually do enjoy watching lots of sports, especially the Olympics, big tournaments like the college basketball, or major sporting events like the World Series or Wimbledon. But definitely not a fan of seeing two people pummel each other!

Andrea Penrose

Quantum, I, too, like watching sports that I've played. So I enjoy the major tennis tournaments, and soccer too, as my brothers both played a lot of it.

The gentleman Jackson info was fun to discover—especially the fist!

Andrea Penrose

Mike, I had forgotten about that scene in Regency Buck! Yes, mills were a huge draw for Regency gentlemen, (definitely no ladies allowed, though I'm sure some disguised themselves as men and went out of curiosity!)

Heyer did make some things up, but was pretty accurate about most things. Interesting about the military error . . .but no matter how much you research, it's not always easy to get everything right!

Andrea Penrose

Katja, thanks SO much for this. I kept finding mention that the authorities would often try prevent or break up the big gatherings, and this explains why!


I have ended up seeing my share of boxing matches, mostly due to a couple of men in my life who wanted to watch them. I developed an interest, back when we watched on a black & white TV. The first time I saw a fight on a color TV I was shocked by the blood!


You have some great illustrations. I have some of the books mentioned but mostly for reference and research. I don't much care for sports, except horse racing,and was glad when I finally didn't have to watch any after all the children were settled with their own TVs. Never have liked boxing. I confess to liking the old sword fighting scenes in movies though modern fencing doesn't seem to have the same fascination.

Annette N

Thanks for the post. The pictures are amazing. I am a sports nut. I like nearly all sports. But, I am not a fan of boxing. People beating on one another is not entertainment to me. I like hockey, but at least when they hit one another, they are wearing pads.

Thanks again for the post. And the panorama is amazing.

Hope everyone is well.


Right now it is fishing. I enjoy reading about the “angler” of the 1700-1800s. Some were fly fishing.

Mary M.

That fist picture was so interesting! My fist doesn't look anything like that (totally different position of the thumb), but I imagine one's hand/fist is as different from another's as fingerprints are.

Why I was fascinated, though, is because of a snippet in a recently read Regency in which a male was teaching a female how to form a fist to defend herself better: thumb on the outside, not inside the fingers. Try it, it's true! Much more solid and stable, less likely to get your thumb broken, and (for us females) a chance for that thumbnail to do some extra damage.

Needless to say, I hope I never have to try this out for real.

Teresa Broderick

I watch a lot of sports on tv. Snooker, darts, tennis and soccer would be the big one for me. I used to watch boxing but I think it's all gone a bit staged now so don't bother so much. In Ireland we have the female boxing champ, Katie Taylor. I watch some of her fights. They're not always accessible here. She's done a lot for women's sports around the world.
Lovely pics you provided Andrea.

Jane Irish Nelson

I'm not a boxing fan, but I have an interesting boxing connection in my family history. One of my great-grandfathers was born on 17 April 1861, the one year anniversary of the international boxing championship between American John C. Heenan and English boxer Tom Sayers, so he was named "Heenan Sayers Lhamon" -- though he generally went by Hank.

I do follow a number of other sports though, baseball in particular, and last year began watching hockey as my area got a new team.

Andrea Penrose

Yes, boxing in full color is pretty gruesome! And what we've learned about head injuries is very scary.

Andrea Penrose

I'll watch Cary Elwes fence anytime! Those scenes in Princess Bride were fabulous!

Andrea Penrose

Glad you enjoyed the pictures, Annette. The panorama does look amazing, and I hope to see it in person.

I'm not a boxing fan either!

Andrea Penrose

I totally get fishing! It's very zen-like, especially fly-fishing. It was very popular in the Regency (and most every era!) It also has wonderful art and good literature written but it.

Andrea Penrose

That's fascinating about how to make a fist for hitting someone. (I had two brothers, so I did learn that as a kid!) I hope you never have to use the knowledge, but it's good to know.

Andrea Penrose

Glad you enjoyed the pictures, Teresa. I know there are a lot of women boxing now, and I do understand that there is art and skill involved. But seeing someone hit just makes me wince. I find it hard to watch.

Andrea Penrose

What a fun story, Jane! That was quite a mouthful for great-grandfather.

I like the speed of hockey. They can be rough, but pads help, and I've been told by guys who play hockey that the fighting isn't as bad as it looks because when balancing on skates, it's hard to throw a punch with any "pop"!

Julia Gasper

Thank you for this really fascinating and detailed post.
You may be interested to read this blog about a Regency Corinthian, Berkeley Craven, second son of Elizabeth Craven, who was a noted fan of boxing, and attended some celebrated matches - to bet, of course!


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