- Oude Kerk
- Nieuwe Kerk
- Koninklijk Palace
- Anne Frankhuis
- a bewildering succession of museum
- finally, the Rijksmuseum
Marc is to go to hospital in Amsterdam for some tests - just to make sure he's doing okay - of course he will be taking his private nurse, Caroline. Editor's Note: My experience with the healthcare "system" here in the U.S. is quite different. Here, if we have tests, most likely it will be on an outpatient basis. Waiting for hours in a soul-sucking waiting room with horrible flourescent lights. "Not that anyone could look good under these zombie lights. I, I, I, I can feel them sucking the juice out of my eyeball. Suck, suck, suck, SUCK..." - Joe vs. The Volcano. Now, back to our story...Marius asks Caroline to go out to dinner with him...on a whim. She turns him down - sure that he didn't mean to do it (he didn't!). Caroline says that she is going out with some of the nurses, which of course is a bald-faced lie, and you know that nothing good ever comes from telling bouncers. She sneaks out of the hospital after dinner intent on exploring Amsterdam after dark. By herself. Because she doesn't have looks or much money, she feels pretty safe...lucky for her Marius was watching her sneak out and follows her, because she is accosted by Ill-Kempt Man! Horrors. It's nice that someone is finally showing an interest in accosting her, unkempt or not. A little coffee with Mr. van Houben by the Rembrandtsplein will fix that right up. It's right around this point that Marius begins to change a wee bit. He starts talking to his dog, Neptune aka Nep, about Caroline. He had no fewer than 5 conversations with his canine friend during the second half of the book. Personally, I feel this bodes well for him. Any man who can talk to a dog and ask advice of a dog can't possibly be all bad. Caroline and little Marc now return to Alpen-aan-de-Rijn (which looks like "Alps on the Rhine" to me...) where Marius comes and invites Caroline to spend a day sightseeing with him. She gets a slightly mulish expression on her face and wants to turn him down, but Marc's mother is right there and accepts for her (great, first she's called a bulldog, and now she's a mule?). This leads up right up to: Caroline's Grand Day Out. Marius really does our girl proud. My favorite part of the day (besides shopping in a flea market!) is when he takes her to his home and introduces her to his cat, Jane, "...nothing to look at but a charming character and a splendid mother." Well, if that's not a type and shadow, I don't know what is. At the end of this fabulous day, our heroine has her dawning realization - the fairly hopeless kind. I don't know why she had to feel so hopeless - the man just spent an entire day escorting her around what seemed to be the entire country of Holland. If that doesn't say something about a guy being interested...
Rating: I will cautiously give this one a "boeuf en croute" with the caveat that this is a VERY gentle story...there is no other woman and even Robert Brewster, Muddier of Waters, is just a simple misunderstanding. Marius does do a little knight in shining armour business when he rescues Caroline from The Unkempt Man - and I love, love, love that he charters a plane to come see her when she has the measles. Caroline spends most of the book taking care of sick infants of one sort or another, and there is never really any flirtation (which I wish it had). I was talking to Betty Keira about this book earlier in the day and I told her, "there's nothing to really sink your teeth in" - that's very true, but that doesn't mean that A Girl in a Million isn't a sweet little story.
Food: a can of Dutch soup, rhubarb and custard, apple crumble, sausages and chips, homemade biscuits, duckling with orange sauce, straw potatoes, castle puddings, omelette, chicken soup, cheese soufflé, beefburgers, minced chicken, junket, yoghurt.
Fashion: blue denim skirt, silvery grey cotton shirtwaister, flowered skirt, the inevitable cardigan, plastic mac, pale green voile two-piece, a jersey dress that won't crush, Laura Ashley pink dress with wide lace collar, navy and white dress with navy jacket.