Blog Archives

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.

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When Two Paths Meet (Betty Neels)

5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Ok, you have to be in the mood for a Cinderella story where the evil stepmother has been recast as a managing, manipulative older brother, and where the prince has been replaced by a sometimes-arrogant doctor. Once you’ve done that, and assured yourself that you’re in the mood for an old-fashioned romance where they’ll drink lots of tea, be very awkward around each other while enjoying many, many well-described meals, kiss twice and live happily-ever-after… well, this is your book. Betty Neels… she had a certain type of book she wrote (see the “Comparisons” section below), but if you like that type, this is at the top of that small niche.

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The Little Dragon (Betty Neels)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Constantia is a more fiery female character than we normally get from Neels. She’s still a nurse, and our hero is still a doctor (as they almost always are in Neels books!), but she’s got firm opinions and is very, very capable. In particular, Constantia is prejudiced against rich people, and though she is attracted to Jeroen van der Giessen, she almost takes pride in the fact that he’s a lowly, hard-working GP. They marry fairly quickly, and of course, we spend the rest of the book wondering when she’s going to find out that Jeroen is a rich doctor (by picking up a Neels book, we, as the reader, already knew that the male protagonist would be both a doctor, and a rich one…)

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A Betty Neels Christmas: A Christmas Proposal and Winter Wedding (Betty Neels)

5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
I love the first novella in this collection. Though I don’t normally even like novellas, A Christmas Proposal is probably the best modern-day Cinderella rewriting I’ve read. It’s not overly exciting or even particularly innovative, it’s just… nice, in a very lingering way. And Winter Wedding, though not my favorite, is still… good. These are two heroines that you really relate to and root for — they’re more mousy than pretty, and more gentle than spirited. They’re the true underdog wallflowers that you want to have a happy ending.

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An Innocent Bride (Betty Neels)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase
Though it arguably has a lot of the components of a normal Betty Neels romance… this one just didn’t really click for me. You’ve got the strong male hero who just wants to take care of the prideful, trying-to-make-it-on-her-own damsel in distress. You’ve got the typical medical drama (this time a sick aunt) who draws them together, as well as the female antagonist who is suitably catty… still, something about this novel just irked me; the resolution felt uneven. Overall, not my favorite effort from Neels.

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A Suitable Match (Betty Neels)

2 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Though I’m normally a fan of almost everything by Betty Neels, this one just didn’t really jive with me. You’ve got a man who’s marrying to secure a nice guardian/mother figure for his brother’s orphaned children, and a demure (almost passive) heroine who’s secretly in love with him. With Betty Neels books, you know that the love is always in the background and set to a very slow boil, but this one just kept getting overwhelmed with side details and characters until you don’t really remember that it’s a romance at all.

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The Fortunes of Francesca (Betty Neels)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is on the better end of Betty Neels’ books (see the “Other Things to Know” section where I talk about how the author’s a genre unto herself). There’s your damsel in distress (this time with an ailing aunt, an evil villain for an uncle, and a brother going to medical school) and the hero who rescues her (a doctor, which is standard in Betty Neels novels). It’s got all the elements that someone who likes Neels would enjoy: lots of old-world, traditional sentimentality, lots of food and tea, and a hero who wants nothing more than to protect the heroine by rescuing her from her family, showering her with nice clothes, and feeding her (these books aren’t really action-packed, but you always know what you’re getting with Neels).
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Only by Chance (Betty Neels)

4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is a great example of classic Betty Neels — a sweet, comforting romance where there’s almost as much drinking tea and rescuing stray cats as there is actual romance (also the characters never do more than share a semi-chaste kiss).  Here, we have an unassuming, ladylike young woman with no looks to speak of who is constantly rescued by a successful, handsome doctor.  She falls in love with him almost immediately, while he finds her to be borderline bothersome, but gradually he finds himself more and more drawn to her.

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