Monday, October 11, 2010

Caroline's Waterloo - 1980

I've been saving up for this one all year. It's no secret that I love Caroline's Waterloo. Love it. Love. It. It's like Betty Neels knew me and knew just what I'd like to read. The book starts out in October (my favorite month) and it was published the same year Dr. van der Stevejink and I exchanged vows. Which means that I got married the same year as the fictional Caroline. Let's not forget one of my favorite ABBA songs. I'll apologize right up front for the review. There's just no way I'll be able to do justice to this fabulous book.

Caroline Tripp is an orphan. She's just about the orphaniest orphan ever. She lives close to the hospital in a dreary little bedsitter with her cat, Waterloo. She's a plain little thing...but friendly. Friendly enough to make up the numbers for a group of nurses going on a camping/bicycling tour of Friesland. For some reason four is a better number than three. She's so nice that besides going along with the other nurses, she's also swotted up a few fun facts about Friesland. She's a fount of information on gross national products, agriculture and items of historical interest.
One of the other girls must have been in charge of the itinerary/route, because they're lost. Night is falling and they are in the middle of nowhere. In spite of the loneliness of the landscape, the girls manage to get in a four bike pile-up, in front of the only house in the neighborhood. Caroline comes off worst, she's got a gash in her leg and a she's hit her head on a milestone and gotten concussed. Editor's Note: Had she been wearing a bike helmet, we might not have had a story.... Her vision might be fuzzy, but one thing comes in crystal clear - a large man with a harsh voice sounds very grumpy about his home being invaded by a gaggle of girls. He orders his man Noakes to take the injured party into the surgery with a sigh...and I fall in love with Caroline when she asks for a needle and thread so that she can stitch it up herself. Stacy, Miriam and Clare soon leave the helpless victim - they're due back at hospital and Caro is left alone with Baron Professor Radinck Thoe van Erckelens (or is that Professor Baron??). Well, not quite alone. Huis Thoe is fully furnished with faithful retainers, chief amongst them, the redoubtable Noakes. Noakes is an ex-pat who is married to the cook, Marta. Juffrouw Kropp, the housekeeper, three maids, Old Jan and Young Willem, help round out the menage. Why am I listing the household help? Without them, the story would end much more quickly, and much less satisfactorily.
Like Napoleon imprisoned on the isle of Elba, Radinck has fallen into a state of weenie hermitness. Caro learns from Noakes that the Professor was married in 1966 (13 years ago) - the young baroness left him two years later - ran off with another man then they both died in a plane crash (per usual). When the Professor asks Caro if she's lonely, she can see that really, he's the truly lonely one (well, he would be, isolated on Elba...).
Radinck leaves to go on a lecture tour - he'll be gone right up to the day before Caro is supposed to be healed enough to leave. The staff at Huis Thoe go out of their way to spoil her, a girl who has never been spoiled in her life. Caro reciprocates by offering to teach them Christmas carols - in an effort to bring a little cheer to the Professor. The days pass quickly...learning Dutch words with the help of Juffrouw Kropp, taking walks with Rex, the Old English sheepdog, and playing piano in the servants quarters. Which is where the Professor catches her. 'If I had come home earlier I should have found you playing gin rummy in the cellars'. Not true, says she. We were playing canasta in the kitchen.
Back in London, Caro enters what she has, misleadingly to the Professor, called her 'flat'. There was a cruel contrast between her bedsitter and Huis Thoe. Instead of a staff of retainers anxious to please, she's just got Waterloo. When she checks in at the hospital to see her work schedule, she is informed that the Professor has written and suggested that she have a few more days off. Caro spends the time cleaning her bedsit, reading and talking to Waterloo. It's only a matter of a week or so, while frying up some sausages, that she gets to thinking about the poor, lonely Professor. It was a pity he couldn't find some beautiful girl exactly suited to him, fall in love and get married...Me! I want that girl to be Me!!! So what if she's burnt her sausages, she's in love...and that's just about the stupidest thing she's ever done. She doesn't stand a chance with him. She should have fallen in love with someone insignificant. Someone just ambitious enough to wish to buy his own semi-detached in a suburb. Hard on that thought is the thought that she's just sure that someone like that would not be a kindred spirit.
Imagine her surprise when the Professor walks into her office a couple of weeks later. 'Ha! You are surprised to see me!' It seems he's escaped from Elba and is now preparing to engage the enemy. At least, he's preparing to get engaged. With nary a preamble, Caroline is treated to a bald-faced proposal. She may as well check her pulse and her temperature - surely this is some sort of fevered dream? No, the Professor is standing there, larger than life, and he now presents his case. It's not that he loves her...on the contrary, you have no looks, no witty conversation, quite deplorable clothes, but dang it if all of his staff and even the dog and cats are moping around the house since she left. He doesn't even wish to love her, but he would like to have her around.
Her: What you want is a sheet anchor. No demands, no curiosity, just someone to talk to when you feel inclined.
Him: Yes! And above all, no romantic nonsense!
Her: I'll think about it.
Him: What is there to think about? It's not like you're going to get any better offers.
Her: I'll let you know my decision tomorrow.
Of course she's going to say yes, but she's already planning a little strategy. He's obviously used to getting his own way. She's going to change him. Caroline is the Duke of Wellington, preparing to go to battle with Napoleon Radinck. The wedding takes place about a week later, and now it's back to Huis Thoe and the crowds of adoring servants and animals.
The Baroness (that would be Caroline)draws up her battle plans that first night back in Holland. First, she's going to get him to smile more. Next, as with all good cavalry units, she's going to learn how to ride a horse. She also plans to kill him with cheerfulness and an uncomplaining nature. Progress is slow at first, but she is gradually able to tick off a few modest successes.

Significant Battles:

The Battle of Tinker's Donkey. The Baroness of Wellington is rewarded with a genuine smile after rescuing a pregnant donkey from abuse.

The Equestrian Conflict. After Napoleon Radinck catches Caro having riding lessons, he gives her an invitation to go riding with him each morning.

The Massacre of Hidden Handkerchief. Queenie the Rescued Donkey foals in the wee hours of the morning...Radinck gives his jacket to Caro - who finds a woman's hanky in the pocket. Is there another woman? Will it be a complete rout? No, it's a swoop and a kiss!

The Burgermeester's Reception. Low cut gown? Check. Family jewels? Check. Dances like a dream? Check. Apparent stalemate? Check.

Of course every war includes its share of trial and hardship. This one is no different. Caroline wishes she would get the flu or something so that she wouldn't have to go to all the social engagements... Radinck tells her that she will do nothing of the sort. Ha! Even Radinck isn't strong enough to prevent viral infections. Caroline might be sick, but it's Radinck who's weakening. Weakening enough to kiss her on the cheek when he thinks she's asleep. Caroline does think it was a dream, until he kisses her on the cheek as he's leaving to go to Vienna. The wheels in her military mind start turning...there is a chink in Napoleon Radincks armour and she is going to exploit it.
Heavy Artillery. Cannons are brought out and volleys exchanged. A car crash right at their gates brings a beautiful young woman into the conflict and muddies the waters. Napoleon Radinck drives her to her home far away and implies that he stayed the night at her place. He admits to confusion of mind about Caroline. Becky Raukema van den Eck (British spy and cross-over character) is able to tell Caroline that Radinck did NOT spend the night with the beautiful young woman.
Peace Negotiations. A kiss. Flowers. A brand new piece of jewelry (not a hand-me-down heirloom) - a true lover's knot. Caroline wonders if he's being extra nice because of a guilty conscience.
Peace Negotiations break down. Napoleon Radinck has one more trick up his sleeve. He tells Caroline Wellington that he is going out of town for a day or two...
Battle of Waterloo. The conflict has gone on long enough. Caroline decides it's time to do something about it. First she sends out a recon team to assess the terrain. It seems that Radinck is not really going out of town at all - his secretary says he's all booked up. Also, in her inexperienced view, his kiss had been a very genuine one. Strategy: deception. Caroline writes a note telling Radinck that she's leaving him, and has Young Willem deliver it to him. Radinck spends the rest of the day looking for her and castigating himself. Imagine his relief and chagrin when he gets home to find her 'calmly' knitting in the sitting room. Quite enough to make Napoleon Radinck surrender. His white flag is her handkerchief that he carries around in his pocket like a lovesick puppy. A little kissing. The end.
Rating: Lashings of Whipped Cream with a cherry on top! The title is a bit misleading - but Caroline's Waterloo does sound better than Radinck's Waterloo. Caroline is awesome. She's plucky, cheerful and has an indomitable spirit. She has an incredible ability to be both a dreamer AND sensible. She's a 'see the hill, take the hill' kind of girl. I simply adore her. Radinck is pretty darn awesome in his own way. He has spent more than a decade becoming a misogynistic hermit - and is quite good at it. Right up until the moment Caroline is carried - bleeding and concussed - into his house. He fights a rearguard action - but he's defeated before he knows what's happening to him. The Great Neels does a lovely job of showing us so much of their story. There's not a lot of needless to-ing and fro-ing, the interaction between the two takes place almost exclusively in and around Huis Thoe. All of Caroline's hopes and dreams are detailed - along with her feelings. Radinck is much more of a closed book. The fact that Caroline is able to read him right from the get-go is simply wonderful. If I could only have one Betty Neels, Caroline's Waterloo is the one I'd choose.
Food:paper-thin bread and butter, scrambled eggs, cheese souffle (twice), Bavarian creme, homemade lemonade, steamed cod, butter beans, salmon mousse, tournedos, sauteed straw potatoes, braised steak, trifle, filets de sole Leonora, sorbet, millfeuille from the sweet trolley, champagne, which grew on one, iced melon, lobster thermidor, charlotte russe, petit fours with white icing and silver flowers and leaves, spinach tarts, bombe surprise.
Fashion: pre-marriage - abominable clothes. Wedding outfit - rather plain, fine wool dress in warm amber and a small velvet hat to go with it, multi-coloured tweed suit, Marks and Spencer sweater, slacks, fancy dress that is pale smokey grey chiffon over a satin lining - not a great deal of top to it, riding outfit, including jodhpurs and boots, pink quilted dressing gown.

59 comments:

  1. Betty Barbara here--
    First off--Happy Birthday, Betty Debbie!

    Lovely review of one of the best of the best of LaNeels. But the book's awesomeness just can't be captured without(basically)quoting everything!
    This book just gives me the 'warm,fuzzy' feelings. Caroline is so clever and poor Radinck is a goner from the get-go. And the joy comes from watching him go down for the count. (Happy sighs).

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  2. Wonderful, if a bit martial (!), review! And Happy Birthday -- had we known, we'd have had a special Debbiesday puzzle for you.

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  3. Happy Birthday, Betty Debbie!...may all your wildest dreams come true.

    I totally agree with Betty Barbara about Radinck--watching his feet of clay crumble is all the fun.

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  4. Sounds fabulous. I always like a heroine who rises to the challenge. He doesn't love me? We'll see about that.

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  5. The most amazing review Betty Debbie. I'd read Caroline's Waterloo, not liking it much at the time but it'll sound different in this light now. Time to go and open the book I suppose. :)

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  6. Loved this one from the very first read. I think it was probably one of the very first as well. A great review, now I will giggle when I read it next time.

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  7. Happy Birthday! Loved this book always, it's my go-to-comfort book (along with the The End of the Rainbow), love your review, happy day!

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  8. Wow! Thank you so much for explaining Waterloo to me! Awesome job!

    I didn't like Radinck when I first met him. I thought he was so mean to her. But I love Caroline. And now, since I see her Waterloo, I lover her and admire her more than ever and wish I could be like her. Thank you for showing us how great she is.

    mwah

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  9. It's a great cover on top of everything else!

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  10. I know, right? Caroline looks plainishly hot, Radinck is succumbing to her wiles...

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  11. Okay, I've been gone back-to-back out-of-town and have to catch up but didn't want to miss this one.

    I agree that Caroline's Waterloo is one of the best-written Neels, and it is also one of the most unusual. Radinck is particularly well crafted, and generally his attitude is reasonably understandable (young love destroyed etc.--unlike the despised Reilof who was old enough to know better...). Caroline easily ranks amongst the pluckiest (Baroness Becky, etc.).

    HOWEVER, (and if you haven't read this book--steal or borrow one) the elephant in the room is The Donkey Comment. I don't care how great the rest of book is, there's no way around The Donkey Comment. I don't care if he is contrite afterward--blah, blah, blah. If a man is capable of making that comment, run like h__l. Deal breaker.

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  12. Yes, the Donkey Comment was too harsh and swept under the rug. The only thing that comes close to a justification (and it doesn't really come close) is that Radinck is desperately fighting his attraction for her, but doesn't really understand what's happening to him.

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  13. I think he's incredulous that someone can be such sweetness and light and so universally caring--he's testing her and trying to get a rise.

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  14. I hope you're both wearing boots 'cause you're wading in it. *laugh

    Y'all are defending Radinck worthy of Caroline--but yo momma still says, "Run!"

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  15. My favorite part of the book is Radinck trying not to laugh hysterically when Caroline tells him what she said to Alien Invasion Guy. You can just tell he went into his bedroom and laughed himself sick.

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  16. I have three words on this debate: Fate is Remarkable.

    No Donkey Comment, real angst (I think I discount Caroline because of the head fake she does at the end -- sending him off on a wild goose chase while she's sitting at home. If he was so easily manipulated, why not do it sooner?), and if Sarah isn't as plucky as Caroline, she's also has more to invest.

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  17. Betty Barbara here--
    Just finished re-reading Fate is Remarkable (Betty Magdalen's favorite) and while it has no Donkey Comment--it does have an incredible Dense Doctor Moment.
    Dear Dr Hugo is returning from a long lecture tour of America (designed to make Sarah's heart beat fonder) and he brings the other woman home from the airport with him. What kind of idiocy is that??!!?! After several weeks of daily phone calls, he is anticipating Sarah rushing to his arms and declaring her love and he brings someone home with him?? Oh c'mon! Epic Doctor Fail!!
    Re: Donkey Comment--I actually had to go back and re-read Caroline's Waterloo--because that scene did not stick in my memory! Yes, the remark was hurtful and the last gasp of a drowning man--but he recognized Immediately! that he had stepped waaaaay over the line and groveled nicely.
    And I wasn't too keen, at the end of FIR, with Sarah describing herself as silly(!!!). That rather diminishes her legitimate grievances.

    So I call it a wash. They are both great books and at the top of the Betty list, but they do have their (teeny tiny) faults.

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  18. (Tip toes in)PS, Fate is Remarkable is my VERY fav, but the top list has expanded by several due to this blog. Thanks from the bottom of my heart. (Tip toes out.)

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  19. I've reread Caroline's Waterloo.

    Here's what I love about it. While my (personal) favorite books in The Canon are the early ones where the hero and heroine actually spend time together, I like Caroline's Waterloo because every single minute that Radinck is away from Caroline (and that's a large number of minutes, people) he's thinking about her whether he realizes it or not. I love the handkerchief. I love him coming home for lunch and being disappointed that she's not there.

    I can even understand his rudeness -- she is destroying his defenses. The Donkey Comment is extremely unpleasant but he knows immediately that it is and apologizes A LOT right away. And that's a revelation to him because he actually cares A LOT about Caroline's feelings. (There's a hint to the Donkey Comment at the end when he tells her that Caroline is someone he can stick in a role and *almost* forget, but Caro -- the name used in the Donkey Comment -- is someone soft and loving and irresistible. That would be the name he'd like to banish from his heart but can't.)

    Here's what I don't love about it. I would have liked more of the lovable Radinck. My problem with the Donkey Comment is that it's the worst of the lot, and there's a lot of lesser rudeness. Yes, I see how all of that indicates how defended Radinck feels he needs to be, but it doesn't make him that much fun to read about.

    Oh, and I don't personally like the ending, where Caroline deliberately tricks him. What if he'd been in the middle of something he couldn't leave, would she have left him as planned? That seems wrong. If I were Caroline, I'd have wanted a more definitive test. Leave or don't leave, but to predicate the decision on an event she can't really know the truth of seems misguided.

    My bottom line is that I enjoyed this a lot more this time, in large part because when you know a book is someone else's favorite, and you like that someone as much as I like Debbie Betty, it's easier to like the likable and ignore any problems.

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  20. Dear Betty Magdalen,
    I ♥ you.

    I'm not usually a fan of the grumpy RDDs, but I like Caroline so much, I'm willing to overlook a little too much curmudgeonly-ness on the part of Radinck. The only other grumpy heros that I like better are Marnix (Henrietta's Own Castle), and the blind guy from Cassandra by Chance (the first half of the book).

    The ending may not be great...but I really appreciate the fact that Caroline didn't run away (like maybe 90% of all Neels heroines).

    Love and lardy cakes,
    Betty Debbie

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  21. Interesting that you mention those two books, Betty Debbie, because they're both in my top ten. Benedict (in Cassandra by Chance) is grouchy but it's more paternalistic and less savage than Radinck -- Benedict is mad at life and his eye injury (chance of blindness = loss of career, no reason to marry, etc.) and he takes that out on Cassandra, but she (and we) can see it's not personal. With Radinck it is personal.

    In Henrietta's Own Castle, Marnix is brusque and very lord-of-the-manor but they keep spending time together, which I like.

    Interestingly, all three books have the heroine's name in the title. I'm currently rereading An Apple From Eve only of course the heroine's name is Euphemia.

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  22. Is it possible I haven't read this book???? It can't be....over to Amazon, quick!

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  23. I love, love, love this book! It was the first Betty Neels I ever read (mainly because the name attrated my attention) and it started my Dutch Doctor addiction.
    Have to admit...I skip the Donkey Comment page. Its just to mean.

    I love that he fancies Caroline like mad but is fighting it. It makes him scumming to her charms much more fun.

    Also had I not googled Caroline's Waterloo I would not have found this wonderfull site. I thought I was the only person on the plannet to have every Betty Neels. But I'm not alone yeay!!!!

    Caroline

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  24. Could somebody please tell me the page of the Donkey Comment in Caroline's Waterloo? I've obviously read my namesake numerous times, but it's just not coming to me. I have the same copy that is pictured in this post. (Making my way through the back-reviews, but not necessarily reading them at the same time.) Thanks!

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  25. I have a different edition. And I haven’t got my book with me. But here is the scene. It takes place after Caroline with the help of Radinck aquires the half-starved beaten donkey in foal from the tinkers.

    The Donkey Comment (in bold print)

    Give me that rope, and be good enough to go up to the house and ask Noakes to get Jan and young Willem, then telephone the vet and tell him to come out as soon as he can to examine an ill-treated donkey in foal.'
    'Yes, of course.' Caroline smiled happily at his rather irritable face. 'I'll go at once. Radinck, what shall we call her?'
    He was staring at her with hard eyes as though he couldn't bear the sight of her. 'What could be more appropriate than Caro?' he wanted to know mockingly. She hadn't taken a dozen steps before he was beside her, his hands on her shoulders so that she had to stop. 'I'm sorry, that was a rotten thing to say.' She had gone a little white and the tears were thick in her throat, but she managed a smile. 'As a matter of fact it's a very good name for her.' She added earnestly: 'It doesn't matter, really it doesn't.'
    'It does—you didn't deserve it, Caroline.' His voice was gentle. 'What shall we call her? We have a Waterloo and a Rex and the kitchen cat is called Anja—how about Queenie, and if the foal is a boy we can call him Prince.' Caro had no doubt that he was trying to placate her hurt feelings, and although it wasn't much the tiny flame of hope she kept flickering deep down inside her brightened a little; at least.

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  26. Oh, riiiight. Now I remember. That rat. :)

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  27. It's toward the end of chapter 5.

    Betty AnoninTX

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  28. I'd never read this book but purely on the strength of this review, I borrowed it from the library and read it from cover to cover and truly, it is one of Betty Neels' best works! I've not read the whole Neels canon yet (am hoping to do it though ever since I've found this wonderful blog) but am I wrong to think that Caro must surely be one of the more assertive of the Great Betty's heroines in that she fought so valiantly to try to get her husband to love her? Also, unlike many of the heroines in the other books, she did not run away from the marriage even when she had a few doubts about Radinck and the beautiful young woman but instead went so far as to actually pull a prank to test the depth of his feelings. I now consider her my favourite Betty Neels heroine.

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    1. Yay! Happy to welcome another member to Team Caroline!

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    2. Yay! Caroline is another of my top favourites, too. I can't wait to read what you think of my dear little Tishy from Small Slice of Summer and "Nasty Reilof" (whom I happen to like, a lot!) from The Hasty Marriage. Those two are loved by some, yet hated by others.

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    3. Betty Scott, who are you? Where are you? How did you find Betty Neels and The Uncrushable Jersey Dress?

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    4. Oh, and welcome, and thanks for writing to us all!

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    5. Welcome, Betty Scott! But don't fall for the pro-Reilof crowd--they're fickle. (If you haven't read The Nasty Marriage, you won't get the joke. If you have, that there's funny....)

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    6. Hey, who are you calling fickle?!! Careful now.
      Betty Taking Exception Anonymous giggle

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    7. Hey, whom are you calling fickle?!!!
      Betty A's Little Red Pen Taking Exception giggle

      Pst! Don't scold it, I'm afraid my little red pen hasn't moved with the times and is still stuck somewhere in British 1970's Grammar...


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    8. To respond to Betty Anonymous about "A Small Slice of Summer"'s Tishy and "The Hasty Marriage"'s Reilof: I've just finished both books. I liked "Hasty Marriage" a lot and agree with its ranking of lashings of whipped cream. Reading it, I felt so full of emotions that I almost cried in sympathy with Laura. Although Reilof was certainly nasty to Laura after he received the news that he was jilted, I would cut him some slack for it due to the shock he must have been in at that moment. After all, it is human nature to want to shoot the messenger that bears bad tidings! In any case, he redeemed himself in my eyes from the Fiat episode onwards. In contrast, I did not like Tishy as I found her too prickly. When she spoke to Jason, she was, more often than not, feeling upset, annoyed or defensive, so much so that it was a wonder to me that Jason could fall in love with her in the end. Jason, himself, I found to be a rather low-key personality and hence not very memorable. As such, "A Small Slice of Summer" is not one of the "stand out" Betty Neels books for me...

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  29. Hi everyone! Yay, I get to have 'Betty' added to my name, too? Thanks for the honour! I'm from Singapore. I'm a home maker now although up to a few years ago, I was a government employee for almost two decades. I'm married with no human kids but have two lovely dogs both of which are about 10 years old (very like the elderly dogs in the novels). I haven't the chance to own any cats yet though! My first Betty Neels book was "The Promise of Happiness" when I was a teenager. I loved Becky, Tiele, Bertie and Pooch! So I looked out for more of Betty Neels books after that. I love her books because they are so heartwarming and soothing. I love the romance of an ordinary woman being able to attract a tall, big, extremely wealthy man, a la Pretty Woman (which is also a movie I like)! And I also love the references to the dogs and cats in the novels and the love for animals found in Neels' heroes and heroines. I'm very lucky in that my library seems to stock the ebooks of all the Betty Neels titles so I'm currently reading my way guided by the reviews in this blog, which I discovered after doing a random search on the Internet for my favourite authors. I never expected to find a community of Betty Neels fans as I had never encountered any one else who has read her books so I was really pleased. I haven't read "Small Slice of Summer" or "Hasty Marriage" yet. I just finished "At the End of the Day" which was good but it won't be a top favourite of mine. Am in the middle of "The Awakened Heart" now which I think I will like very much as the hero, Rijk, is so nice in this book. I look forward to getting to know you through your posts. (Sorry for this long intro.)

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    1. You'll fit right in with the rest of us. :) I never expected to find this type of community either. I didn't find the site until I had finished all 135 books. Then I wanted to re-read the ones I had loved so much but couldn't remember the title that went with the little snippets of stories that were floating around in my head. A few internet searches to help with that led me to this wonderful place. The first one I re-read? What was that wonderful book with the stew bubbling on the stove at the end? Fate Is Remarkable. I opened up books (in alphabetical order on my shelves; librarian compulsion) until I found the stew. lol At least it was near the first of the alphabet. It's much easier to use the search function here or ask another Betty. Welcome.

      Betty AnoninTX

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  30. I have been covertly reading, but not contributing, for the last year since I found this blog. After 30 years of loving The Divine Betty and repeatedly failing to convince any of my sisters or friends that true comfort and joy could be found in box pleated skirts, lobster patties and packing large men into small minis I couldn't really believe that I had found true believers here! Having moved out from London to near Saffron Walden (no I don't live in a thatched cottage or have a donkey) I thought it a good excuse to re-read all my Bettys and landed on Carolines Waterloo this weekend. I love your review and I love Caroline too, Visiting Consultant next. Thanks for all your good humour,
    Betty Box Pleat

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  31. Betty Barbara here--
    Yay!! Another Betty! Welcome, welcome.

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  32. Hi and welcome! I loved reading "Visiting Consultant"! I hope it's a favourite of yours too? Agree with you about lobster patties and large men too, but alas, no box pleats for me EVER as they remind me of the ten years I had to wear pinafores with box pleats for my school uniform...

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  33. Welcome, Betty Box Pleat! Well now, how Betty can you get, you actually moved from London to somewhere near Saffron Walden in the Essex countryside.

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  34. I remember reading another review where Betty Reviewer (!) says that it's very like "Pride and Prejudice". I was reminded of Darcy proposing to Elizabeth (the first time) when he talks about how misguided it all is and how he has to overcome the unsuitability of it (with all that goes along with it). Radinck sounds very similar (to me, anyway) -- except for the "I really, really love you even if your mother and three of your sisters are idiots and your uncle's in trade" from Darcy -- when he gripes about her clothes, conversation, looks, etc. YMMV.

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  35. I am a new fan of Betty Neels. This is the first book I have read and I have already been stuck in a chair for book #2. I only wish she could go on for 100 more pages as I have fallen in love with the characters and want to see the happily ever after part. Living in The Netherlands and reading about all these beautiful places is giving me quite a list to visit while we are here. Thank you Kylene and Keira for your gift!

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    1. Debbi, now we get to call you Betty Debbi (not to be confused with my sister Betty Debbie). Hope you enjoy it here!

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  36. I am so glad I found your site. I also love Caroline's Waterloo. It was the first Harlequin book I ever read. Loved your analysis too. thanks again

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  37. I often think of this one as a MOC for the same of the servants. Noakes was such a dear wiz' a thick accent telling the professor he was neglecting his bride. Becky was also a great character, a true friend.

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  38. This has always been my favourite Betty Book!!! Have always loved it from the first time I opened it. It has everything that is the best of Betty.

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  39. Wasn't there also a lovely fur coat to go with the wedding dress from Napoleon? I believe there was some line about it being from a farm as she might not like the idea of trapped animals.

    Also I thought of another topic which pervades all Neelsdom: pets. We can't forget the stray dogs of mixed heritage that many a hero have brought into their lives...

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  40. You are right, Betty Bronwyn. The coat was mink, ranch mink because he thought that a coat made from trapped animals might distress her.

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  41. I'm just going to add a little bit about the infamous "Donkey Comment". I thought it incredibly telling that when Radinick apologizes to Caroline he goes on to say they'll name the donkey Queenie, and then her foal will be Prince. Just like once Radinick realizes what he has in Caroline, she'll be his queen and their children princes and princesses.

    Brilliant, Betty Neels! Just brilliant!

    Betty Melissa

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  42. I love this book beyond all reason.

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  43. Me too, Betty Caffeinated. This and Fate is Remarkable. Two I would take to a deserted island.

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  44. This was also my first Betty Neels. I have 4 copies just in case! The first copy I ever bought - falling appart; a first ed. hardback; a kindle copy ( oh and a second kindle copy) and a copy bound in with the Promise of Happiness. Well you never know when you are going to have a need for a fix!

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  45. I just reread it for about the 100th time and i never get sick of it. It is an old and dear friend. The very best of the best of Betty!

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  46. I just re-read this book the other day. I have the Mills & Boon edition in which Caroline is called "Fanny" at least four times. The editors must have taken a day off.

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  47. In my copy she is referred to as Fanny three times - the name must have been changed to Caroline but not 100% successfully

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