LitClub:  W.I.N.E.
Originally, Williamsburg-Newport News, VA


IF YOU'RE THINKING this club enjoys wine, you would be right—it is the name. But as Romeo says to Juliet, "What's in a name?" Women of the vine, to be sure. But they're also Women In Natural Essence.

Your members reside in 3 different states?
The US Army connects us. Most of us (or our spouses) have retired and some have moved. So when members living in North Carolina or Maryland hold meetings, we travel from Virginia to them...later, they travel back to us. If a member can't make a meeting, she can phone in or email comments.

Your name—"Women In Natural Essence"—what does it mean?
It means women from all backgrounds in life. Women who are secure within themselves, women who nurture, protect, comfort, love and give of themselves freely.

And yes. We all enjoy a good glass of wine now and again!

But our relationships extend far beyond the rim of a wine glass. We've been friends for over 10 years. The group includes sisters, mothers and daughters. We've raised most of our children together, and we've seen each other through marriage, child birth, tragedy and divorce. We support each other as sisters and friends.

We're more than a book club...we're FAMILY!

A salute to womanhood! How long have you been a book club?
We started reading together, as a club, in 2004. Currently, we have 14 members. We meet in homes, restaurants...and wineries.

Wineries? Sounds like you have a lot of fun. What else do you do?
Our big event was heading to Las Vegas in 2009. We do Girls' Movie Nights Out, we attend the Capital Jazz Festival in DC, and have sleepovers with our members who live in Maryland and North Carolina. In 2010, we're heading to the Bahamas and a Wine Festival in North Carolina.

We also attend author appreciation events...and we've had authors attend our book gatherings.

You do a lot. Do you have time to read?
Yes, we do. Absolutely! We meet every 5 or 6 weeks to discuss a book (though not during winter holidays).

You use a "Hat" method to choose books. How does that work?
At each gathering the hostess picks a name out of a hat, and whoever is picked is responsible for selecting the next book, meeting place & time. She's also responsible for sending out reminders.

So tell us what you've read.
Here's some of what we've read over the past year:

The Marriage Clause (Yvette Hines)
Whispers in the Dark (Denise Jefferies)
Transformation of the Mind, Body & Soul (Alfreada Brown-Kelly)
Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
Who's Loving You (Mary B. Morrison)
The Lost Symbol
Child of God (Lolita Flies)

Any all-time favorites?
Acheron (Sherrilyn Kenyon)—filled with Greek mythology and sassy romance.
Whispers in the Dark—a murder mystery with a flare of romance.
Cross (James Patterson)—a highly emotional thriller.

What about particularly good discussions?
Yes—The Shack, The Lost Symbol, and Lies at the Altar (Dr. Robin Smith)

Do you support a charity?
Yes, a number of charities—The Sister Soldiers Project (for women servicing in our arm forces overseas), Breast Cancer Awareness, Multiple Sclerosis, various clothing and food shelters/drives, and scholarship programs.

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