M.M. Bennetts

I want to... have fun with writing again. Enjoy my work, enjoy playing with the language and characters like a sculptor plays with clay. But there's this manic focus on numbers--how many books have you written and how many have you sold and it's all push, push, push, and no time for reflection--but at heart, books are about dreaming... which is just the opposite. So I don't know...
M.M. Bennetts comment to Nancy Bilyeau as related in Nancy's tribute "M.M. Bennetts: The Closest Friend I Never Met"

Educated at Boston University and the University of St. Andrews, M.M. Bennetts was a specialist in early 19th century British history and the Napoleonic wars as well as a keen cross country and dressage rider. Before turning to writing novels full-time, Bennetts was a French translator and a longstanding book critic for the Pulitzer-prize winning newspaper, 'The Christian Science Monitor'.

Both Bennetts' historical novels, May 1812 (a Harper-Collins Authonomy Gold Medalist) and Of Honest Fame, are based on over twenty years' research and a bibliography of more than 150 works. M.M. enjoyed playing and practicing the music of the age--Beethoven, Field, Schubert. She learned to clean and shoot a flintlock used at Waterloo and said the guns of 200 years ago were "so beautiful!" She visited the battlefields, studied the furniture and homes, ate the food the English soldiers were served in Spain 200 years ago, listened to the family stories of the descendants of Spanish guerrillas who fought alongside Wellington and his men in Spain...they each made her promise she would tell their story. She gave them her word.

A third novel, 'Or Fear of Peace', set amidst the turmoil of the final drive against Napoleon in Europe, was underway but was left unfinished at M.M.'s death.

Bennetts contributed to and co-edited Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors, a compilation of the best of the English Historical Fiction Authors' historical essays from the first year of their existence.

The author lived in England with her family.

M.M. Bennetts' books

M.M. Bennetts: The Closest Friend I Never Met by Nancy Bilyeau

M.M. Bennetts posts on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog:

What's a Fall Front? you ask...

Chawton today ~ a Walk in Jane Austen's village

A Viennese Christmas, 1814

The must-have garden accessories for the rich and richer? A glasshouse and pineapples!

Stourhead ~ Painting with Nature

Nom nom nom ~ Regency style

The Lady's Monthly Museum

Fact or Holmesian fantasy? The London Fog...

The Jilting Princess...

Boy Sailors During the Age of Nelson and Napoleon

The Pursuit of the Picturesque

The Duel that Shocked the Nation

Gertrude Jekyll

The Great Frost Fair of 1814

Entertainment Tonight--Regency Style

Almack's - it's not quite what you think...

An Englishman and his Dog...

Austen's England: Peaceful as all that? I don't think so

The Rise and Fall of the English Landscape Garden

London in the early 19th century

Mr. Darcy strips off...

The Royal Spy ~ Prince William Henry

Mottisfont ~ the Evolution of an English House

200 years ago today - Death of a Statesman

Celebrating Burns' Night

The Elizabethan Gardening Craze

The Summer the Allied Monarchs Came to Town...

The Siege of Badajoz ~ 6 April 1812

Sir Sidney Smith and the Siege of Acre - 1799

The Royal Navy's Finest Sailor?

Captain Gronow, his Sicilian Valet & the Duchess of Marlborough

Historical Anecdotes

M.M. Bennetts' post on English Epochs 101

In and Out of Jane Austen's Window


  1. So sad that M.M. was taken from us all too soon. It seems she had a LOT to offer. Thankfully, she left two works for writers of historical fiction and others to feast upon. I wonder how far along her third manuscript was? Perhaps one day someone qualified and who is familiar with M.M.'s voice and leanings will take up the pen and complete it for her. I, for one, am sorry I never got to meet such a lady and writer. May she rest in peace.

    1. Hi Michael,

      Thank you for taking the time to read about M.M. (Melissa) Bennetts and for your kind thoughts. She was widely loved in a large circle of historical fiction authors--very helpful and much fun. I don't know how far along her third novel is, but her daughter, now in university, will someday complete the book. Again, thanks.

  2. So sad to read M.M. Bennetts passed as such a young age. She appeared to have been such a great gift from what I read. I just met here on these pages, and I can imagine what a loss. May her family and associates be comforted, and may she rest in peace. Afoma Uchendu, Lagos, Nigeria

    1. Hi Afoma,

      Thank you for your kind comments. It is nice to know that MM's life and work are known of in Nigeria.

      Best regards,