Ask A Wench

Muse_reading_Louvre_CA2220_(cropped)Pat here, with this month’s question from Karen:

I very much enjoy the monthly What We're Reading columns, and I began wondering about books that you, the Wenches, do not mention. I'd be happy to hear the answers to any or all of these questions: Do you abandon books with abandon or do you finish every book you begin? Do you read a significant number of books that you don't mention for any reason? Are you a slow or quick reader?


Do you abandon books with abandon or do you finish every book you begin?

 I’m quite a hasty reader in the sense that if a book doesn’t grab me reasonably quickly I will probably abandon it. I’m certainly not the sort of reader to battle on regardless on the “I’ve started so I’ll finish” premise.  I think I may miss out on some good books this way by not giving them the time to get going, so sometimes I will come back to them for a second attempt. Once I’m into a book it’s very unusual for me to give up on it but if something happens in the story that makes it a wall- banger then it’s all over! I recently read a top 10 bestseller that I was really enjoying until very near the end and then (to my mind) it took a completely wrong turning and I wanted to give it up. However I also wanted to know what happened at the end so that was a real dilemma for me!

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What We’re Reading!

Here's a round up of what the wenches have been reading this month. In the comments, let us know what you've enjoyed. It's a great library builder!


The girl and the sword The Girl and the Sword by Gerald Weaver (UK link) is a historical epic in the true sense of the word. It covers decades and looks a great span of ideas and history. It’s set in the 13th century and tells the story of Pauline de Pamiers who is a young girl from the oppressed Christian sect, the Cathars, and how she refuses to accept subjugation but forms an alliance with one of the most famous crusaders of all, Simon de Montfort. There are big themes in this book – the role of women in medieval society, the establishment of parliamentary democracy, the dominance of religion.

Whilst the character of Pauline is fictitious, Simon de Montfort was, of course, very real and in his author’s note, Gerald Weaver talks about taking an “American” view of a man who has primarily been written about by English historians. It’s fascinating to see the different perspective that he brings to the character and actions of de Montfort, seeing someone who has often been dismissed as an ambitious opportunist as, in fact, a fundamentally good man who was responsible for sowing the seeds of democracy.  Whilst I might not have agreed with his interpretation of some of de Montfort’s actions, I did love the sheer swashbuckling scope of the story. This Simon is a real hero of integrity, courage and action. Pauline is an admirable woman and their relationship is a tender and true love story. My favourite aspect of the book was their dialogue which was funny and clever and very entertaining. So if you are a fan of epic historical novels with feminist heroines and knightly heroes, this could be the book for you.

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What We’re Reading–September 2020

Pat here, hosting our monthly wench book review event. We have way too much fun behind the scenes reading each other's recommendations and adding to our TBR piles! We have some great ones this month. And just to keep the bookstores (or libraries) busy, we welcome all reader recommendations in the comments below.


The Sea Gate - Jane JohnsonI haven’t been reading much this month, but I couldn’t resist picking up The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson because the cover really appealed to me and I love stories set in Cornwall. This is a gripping and engrossing dual time story, alternating between the present and World War II. And although I don’t normally read much from this period, The Sea Gate gave a whole new perspective on things as the story takes place in a small fishing village on the coast. Here, the war seems far away, but it has a way of finding the protagonists all the same. For 16-year old Olivia, it changes her life in numerous ways, and has repercussions that resonate throughout her long life. In the present, we meet her again as an irascible old lady in her nineties, and I absolutely loved her character! She is refreshingly direct and downright rude, and the sheer strength of her will is remarkable. The story in the present mainly centres on a young relative, however, Rebecca, who has been through the wringer in more ways than one. Lacking in self-confidence and suffering from anxiety and depression, coming to Cornwall to help the elderly Olivia is the making of her. I so enjoyed watching her going from doormat to roaring lion – a favourite trope of mine – and was cheering her on, hoping for a happy resolution to all her problems. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves dual time stories and/or tales of World War II – it’s wonderful!

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The Winter Bride: an interview with Anne Gracie

Cat 243 Doverby Mary Jo

TWO Word Wenches releases are due on April 1st!  An abundance of good reading.  I waved my hand first to claim an ARC for Anne's The Winter Bride. This second book of her Chance Sisters Quartet is another delight.  (Abby's story, The Autumn Bride () was first in the series, and chosen by Library Journal as one of the Top Ten Romances of 2013.  AND has just been listed as an RWA RITA finalist!)

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