Thursday, April 22, 2010

Two Weeks to Remember-Discussion Thread

  • Our heroine's name is Charity--a lovely Bible name with a correspondingly lovely virtue attached. Chastity, for instance, is lovely as a virtue but icky as a name. It, like Bella or Venus, prompts the hearer to look for behavioral or physical contradictions. (As I confess to doing when Venus Williams went through her rather unfortunate late teens.) Brenda the Bad is easily dismissed because this name sounds like it was made up in the mid 50s (of course it wasn't) and does not have the heft of a Beryl or Euphemia or Charity. But then, my name is Betty Keira and that's a pretty made-up name too...I'll be moving to the villainess queue.[Betty Debbie]I'm not sure whether I'm glad or not to have a "Betty Approved" nickname.
  • Norway and fjords always make me think of Slartibartfast of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I also don't buy that she could actually have skied right into one. Off a cliff...yes. Into a fjord...Death By Fjord! Toxic Mold! News at 11. Okay, maybe.

  • Charity didn't go to university because her dad spent his money on old books. Alright. I'll buy that. The Venerable Neels was surely running out of reasons to have brilliant minds mired in shorthand typist pools and this is as good a reason as any.

  • At one point, Charity buys fish on her lunch hour, then stores it on the window ledge. You know, for someone presumably trained in food-borne illnesses and dietary safety, The Great Betty is off-hand about the possibility of causing Charity's aunt and father (old people with weakened immune systems) to pop off due to bad fish. I think we have to consider the possibility that had Jake (I'm not going to waste my life typing Professor Wyllie-Lyon any more than I have to either) not shown up, she might have gone on to become a serial murderer. It's not like Charity didn't know that keeping the fish on the window ledge might result in some bad gastro-intestinal news...I did like that Jake took her home that evening in his Bentley - and she was worried about the fishy odor she would be leaving behind. Believe me, a fish left on the window ledge for hours would be bound to hum a bit.
  • There are no Dutch things in this book. No Dutch doctors, no Dutch speakers, no Dutch Uncles, no Dutch hospitals/consultations/patients/lectures, no dead Dutch grandmother...Marinate in that awhile.
  • I love the bit when he sees that he's kept her late and sends her home and then is caught trying to do the typing himself (pecking at the keys with two fingers). She forgets herself and tells him, "You don't keep a dog and bark yourself!" The revolution of the personal computer means that we're all shorthand typists now and that Jake would now know how to drive and text simultaneously (even though our doctors would never be caught dead doing something so fiddly on the road). I used to be like that (taking over jobs that I could do faster by myself). Especiallytaking over things like laundry and dishes (my impatience at the glacial speed in which Dr. van der Stevejinck loads the dishwasher...argh). Thankfully I got over that.
  • Cover art. Wow, is that hair bad. I take no issue with his carelessly draped scarf and greying temples. I further take no issue with her chunky sweater and heavy jacket or with his beautifully crinkled eyes. But that braid makes her look like a raven-haired Pippi Longstocking--who is Swedish and not English or Norwegian. I take issue with that. No errant breeze was ever so cruel to a woman and I heartily resent the inference that one was.


  1. I like this book. I like his name "Jake"--sure beats "Aldo"--ugh. I like the cover art--he's cute and so is she--even like her Pippi-braided hair.

    I, too, love the scene where is he caught trying to type. However, since Professor van der Hertenzoon even with his large hands is a wickedly fast typist, I can't relate (he said he had a tartar for a typing teacher--is there any other kind?--I, on the other hand, opted for "History of the Southwest" instead of typing class against my mother's advice--laddies and lassies out there, listen to your mothers!). Now, of course, we're all secretaries--oops, administrative assistants.

    As for skiing, like Charity Professor van der Hertenzoon and his brothers taught me to cross-country when we were dating. After 20 minutes of practice, they took me on the Bataan Death March up a narrow valley in the Rocky Mountains at 8,000 ft in wet snow that kept clumping on the bottom of my skis. Aforementioned professor zoomed way ahead, with me shlepping up behind with each ankle twisting to the side at every step with the iced-up snow beneath the boot. No. 2 brother-in-law finally came back to check on me, cleared off the ice, showed me how to prevent the clumping, and stayed with me the rest of the way--I still adore him. Believe me, had there been a fjord handy I would have pushed Professor van der Hertenzoon into it.

  2. Yes, I had trouble with the cover art too. Now I just get one of those book covers if I find something objectionable that might interfere with how I view the characters. For Charity to have such lovely hair and to be constantly putting it in a plait was so wrong....sigh.
    Still, Betty Neels wrote one of my most favorite romantic moments in this book. It is when Charity is in her "sickbed" with an blackeye and Jake is beside her in the chair and they fall asleep holding hands....So sweet! I really liked this hero. Even though were weren't privy to his thoughts as with some other Neels heroes, it was clear that he was interested in her right from beginning to end.

  3. Oh, oh... can't resist commenting. This is one of my favorite books in the cannon. My favorite moments are the sleepy moment Katie refers to, and the the typing scene. I like his crinkly eyes on the cover, but the plait certainly gives me a turn. I agree that this is one of the best of the RND's (rich Norweigian doctors).

  4. Okay, I know I do this a lot, but I love this cover, if only for the fact that it's got Cary Grant on the it!! Come on Gals. And Stephanie Zimbalest, our cover girl, often wears her hair this way!
    Hi Cyndi! Welcome to the Group. We're like a book club, a beauty salon, a block party, and a
    T.O.P.S. meeting (at least the part where it ends and everyone meets at the Big Boy to share recipes and eat ice cream. I know that cuz my best friend's mom went every week!)
    Where else can you read about your favorite books, talk about men, kids, food, clothes, cars, and carp about the icky step mom, sister-in-law, parent, your future husband's fiance, and other pertinent miscellany.
    This is one stop shopping for the intelligent Betty person! Glad you found us, I'm and really glad I found this lovely bunch of Betty Nuts!

  5. Hi Betty Mary,
    Nice to meet you. I am SO enjoying hobnobbing with other Betty fans and, as you can see, catching up on all the old posts to date.

  6. Hey Bettys, I have spent a Charity Graham kind of day. Prof. van der Hertenzoon unexpectedly rearranged all his meetings and plopped the baby into preschool till 3:00 and swept me off to brunch then cross-country skiing on a mountain lake (pretty icy, no mistaking it for Norway, but still...). We are going for his postponed romantic birthday dinner tonight (okay, after we chaperone a Brownie Scout Masquerade Ball till 8:30, but still...). He is also implying conjugal relations....I need to go find my jersey dress and put my hair up.