Titles & Audiobooks

Lady Elizabeth FosterAnswering Questions: Aristocratic Titles and Audiobooks

Compiled by Mary Jo

The Wenches invite readers to submit questions to us, and due to general overwork, two interesting questions got lost, but now are found.  So both questions are being answered today, and the questioners will each get a book from me.

Here is the first question from Rosa Berini Franco:

I would like to ask you about a question that has us debating several friends who are fond of historical romance.  The question is the following:

 When a distant relative inherits a title (e.g., earl) from someone who dies without direct heirs, do the sisters of that relative receive the courtesy title of lady?  By distant relative, I am referring to a fourth or fifth degree cousin who has no title whatsoever.

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What We Are Reading!

Christina here with this month's summary of what the Wenches have been reading — and we have read a lot! As always, it's an eclectic selection and hopefully some great suggestions for everyone, but we appreciate your input so please let us know what you'd like to add. We can never have enough book recommendations!

Murder at the Serpentine BridgePatriciaMURDER AT THE SERPENTINE BRIDGE by Andrea Penrose

Another brilliant historical mystery in the Wrexford and Sloane series … Conducted against the pageantry of the 1814 Peace Celebrations in London, the intrepid earl and his artist countess unwind a treasonous plot involving the plans for a revolving pistol every nation wants to lay hands on. So much for celebrating peace! In the process of investigating the murder of the pistol’s inventor, the pair acquire the inventor’s brilliant nephew, Peregrine, as a companion for their own wards Hawk and Raven. I love the ongoing family sagas that continue despite the murder and mayhem in the world beyond their safe walls. The history is impeccable and one can truly imagine the scheming that probably did take place with so many powerful men in one place. Highly recommended!

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June What We’re Reading!

Blood of a GladiatorMary Jo here…

…with the Wenches' ever popular "What we're reading" blog.  Dig out your credit cards, we're going for a joy ride!

I've always known that Jennifer Ashley is a very talented, prolific author who writes historical romances, paranormals, and historical mysteries, but I hadn't found her Leonidas the Gladiator series, written under her Ashley Gardner pseudonym.  So far there are only two novels and a novella, but more are coming.  The first book is Blood of a Gladiator.

Leonidas is the premier gladiator in Rome, a rock star fighter who is recognized in the streets, but he has reached the point where he can't face any more killing.  That is the moment when he receives his freedom from slavery and can finally quit being a gladiator and make his own life–if he can figure out how.

He has no financial resources, but an unknown benefactor gives him a modest apartment and a slave of his own: Cassia, who is a scribe.  Illiterate Leonidas doesn't know what to do with  a slave who does doesn't cook or do housework, but she can help him find jobs and is very good at negotiating contracts and making sure they get paid. 

Initially Cassia is afraid of him, but he's a good guy and doesn't ravish her and gradually they develop a bond of trust.  And have to deal with unexpected murders.  Ashley Gardner creates a wonderful sense of place and what it would be like to live in Rome during the reign of Nero.  But the best part is the characters and their slowing developing relationship. 


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Comfort Food!

by Mary Jo

Baklava 2In complicated times, we need our comfort foods!  What foods and drinks do you reach for when you need soothing?

Nicola is first:

I’ve been a comfort eater ever since I was a teen and over the last couple of years my eating did rather spiral out of control as a result of all the stresses in the world, macro-sized ones and personal challenges. One bag of crisps became an entire family sized bag I had to myself and the same went for chocolate. When I realised that I needed an entirely new set of clothes to accommodate me and my eating habit, I realised I had to stop.

So I signed up for a programme to help me change my mindset towards food. It wasn’t a diet because it didn’t need willpower, which was good because I don’t have any when it comes to eating. Instead it sort of reset my attitude towards food. So the brilliant thing about it is that I can still eat all the lovely comfort foods I enjoy – cheese and onion crisps, chocolate mini-eggs, hot buttered toast – but as treats rather than in huge quantities. And I’ve discovered the comfort of eating stuff that’s actually good for me: luxury jacket potatoes, lovely rich casseroles in winter.

But when it comes to the ultimate in comfort food then I seek out baklava. For those who haven’t yet discovered it, baklava is a layered filo pastry dessert filled with chopped nuts (my favourite being pistachios), sweetened with honey and spiced with cinnamon and cardamom. When it’s warm the filo pastry is all soft and gooey with the honey mixture, and the spices are subtle and delicious. You can cut it into square pieces to eat as sweet treats – as large or small as you like. It’s scrumptious and there’s a wonderful recipe for it here:


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WWR—What We’ve Read in November

Anne here, and this month we have a bumper crop of recommended reads for you, from YA to timeslip, to Christmas treats, romance, literary fiction, crime and more.

The Christmas Escape

We'll start with Christina: This month I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of books recommended by fellow Wenches. First and foremost, The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan which was exactly as wonderful as I had hoped. The fact that it is set in snowy Lapland in the north of Sweden was just the icing on the cake! I now long to go there to take sleigh rides through the forests and see the aurora borealis in all its glory.

Then there was Boyfriend by Sarina Bowen, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was very happy to find that it was the first in a series penned by different authors, all connected through the fictional US college Moo U in Vermont. The second book in the series, Blindsided by Victoria Denault, was just brilliant! As well as keeping up with hockey practice and his studies, hockey star Tate Adler is trying to save his family’s farm by doing an illicit side job. Their neighbours the Todds have their own problems. They are sworn enemies so when fellow student Maggie Todd finds out what Tate is doing, she doesn’t hesitate to blackmail him. But whenever they meet, sparks fly and their chemistry is off the charts. Can they risk a relationship or will the feud remain forever? This love story was just explosive and I loved every minute of it. I’m now reading my way through the rest of the series.

Pretty Reckless

A friend also recommended a brilliant YA series by L.J. Shen, starting with Pretty Reckless. It’s raw and angsty with a lot of misunderstandings, but I’m thoroughly enjoying these stories too. Penn Scully is from the wrong end of town with a drug addict mother and a deadbeat step-father, while Daria Followhill is a rich and spoiled princess. He believes she took away the only thing he ever loved and is out for revenge. When Penn’s mother dies, Daria’s parents decide to take him in as a foster son and he can set his plans in motion. As for Daria, she’s tired of always coming second in her mother’s eyes and wants to lash out at everyone and everything. But things don’t go to plan for either of them …

Next comes Pat, who says: If you’re in a literary mood, Anne Tyler is always a good bet.


In REDHEAD BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, Micah Mortimer, is a 40-something computer tech. He’s the youngest of a large, messy family, and in consequence, he’s a tad obsessive about keeping his personal life contained, so contained that he has a bad habit of shutting doors on the world. The story follows Micah through a series of events that opens his eyes to what he’s been missing all his life. There’s no violence, no sex, just a lovely journey of discovery told by a fabulously talented writer. It’s wonderful to settle in for the evening in safe hands—I didn’t skim a single page!  

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