A Match for Sister Maggy (Betty Neels)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is a very standard, middle of the road Betty Neels novel (which for me, is still a win, see below). There’s a nurse (this time she’s tall, pretty, and has an independent streak), and a doctor (Dutch, who offers her a job in Holland). There’s the requisite amount of new dresses, tea-drinking/fancy-dinner eating that is both foundational to, and trademark of, a Betty Neels romance. This one relies (sometimes too much) on misunderstandings, and small displays of temper (by both of them), but is still an enjoyable way to pass an hour… maybe two.

Greater Detail:
Maggy MacFergus is not only a competent nurse, she’s totally confident and independent (which is something that’s not always present in Neels novels). She’s the head of her department,  she knows she’s good at her job, and initially, she’s attracted to Dr. Paul Doelsma because, well, at almost six feet tall… she’s finally found a man who’s taller than she is!

They’re thrown together because his mother has a heart attack, and is placed under Maggy’s care. As she’s recovering, and it’s time for her to return to her native Holland, Paul asks her to come with them, to help ease the transition period and serve as a private nurse.

What makes this book a little different from the standard damsel-in-distress model that Neels likes so much is that Maggy really isn’t the least bit cowed by Paul or his sometimes-overberaing nature. She actually takes him to task when he overreacts, or is in a bad temper, and the two display a healthy amount of chemistry (another rarer thing when it comes to Neels novels, where the only heat often comes from the food or dress descriptions).

It’s a fun, enjoyable read. I found the fact that he kept referring to the girl he would marry, and her not realizing that it was she, Maggy, to whom he was referring to be a little trying, but otherwise, this was fun and enjoyable. Not completely memorable, but totally calming, escapist fiction.

Comparisons to Other Authors:
If you’re willing to talk about Betty Neels in terms of her ability to offer comfortable/comfort romance, where a kiss is the most passionate thing that might happen and where the romance is almost secondary to the daily tasks of the day (having tea, going on walks, rescuing kittens and whatnot), the closest I can think would be someone like Georgette Heyer, though that’s set in the regency era and Betty Neels’ romances are more or less present-day (think 1990s). I think most people either find her soothing or like the boringest writer ever… (I find her soothing!).


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