I opened up my email this afternoon and found this delightful message (upon reading it, I immediately called up Betty Keira and read it again - to her):
I found your web site quite by accident while googling Betty Neels (as you do) and started to read your reviews on each of her books. Very tongue in cheek, I was cracking up just reading your comments.
I live in One Tree Hill in South Australia (there is such a place, just like the television show) but we have more than one tree in our little town of 300 or so. I have all of Betty's books as I've been collecting them for some years. I came across the first book of hers I ever read called "Stars through the Mist" while working at my local hospital (where I still work after 46 years) although I did stop twice when I had my children. That was my introduction to the RDD or dutch doctors. Having been born in Holland myself and migrated out when I was 8 I immediately fell in love with the book and couldn't wait to read more. So whenever I travelled interstate or found a little bookshop somewhere I managed to add to my collection slowly over many years (although some book shops never had any of them because they were so damn popular).
I think I finished by buying the last few on ebay. I have noticed that the copies in your blog are a little different to ours but the stories are the same.
Unfortunately I don't come from anywhere near Friesland, where most of the stories are set, but I have been to Amsterdam twice since coming downunder. I actually come from Limburg which is the southern most province in the Netherlands, where Andre Rieu is from, if you like him of course. We are by far the most musical province unlike our northern neighbours who frown upon us limburgers.
Anyway, would like to join your forum but wasn't quite sure how to go about it. I laugh when I read your descriptions of the sayings in some of her books, obviously they are english but we use a lot of them in Australia as our heritage is mostly British. The food is similar as well, but I definitely like my dutch food as well and make oliebollen on New Years Eve and have tried bitterballen and other dutch delicacies at our local Dutch Community Group.
Even though I don't agree with your comments on the books I guess we all have our favourites. I have been in the process of reading the whole collection since March this year when I was on vacation for a month looking after a dutch relative visiting with us. I have my favourites too, I also like Caroline's Waterloo and The Silver Thaw which you weren't that keen on, but generally I prefer the books with dutch doctors being a little prejudiced as I am.
I have about 40 books to go, I'm up to 1988 editions right now, but re reading them I found that some of the stories were like brand new books, I hadn't remembered the contents themselves, so it was very refreshing and romantic. I think its even upped my love life, who could tell, but being a Pisces I am naturally a romantic at heart.
So, thank you for your blog, so glad you started it, for there are literally thousands of Betty fans everywhere. Keep up the good work, and I have added it to my Favourites List on my explorer.
If ever you need any info about anything let me know, but you guys have probably googled everything anyway and so would know more than I do anyway.
PS Don't be too offended by Betty knocking the yanks, she was just a little old lady when she started writing and I'm sure she didn't mean to offend anyone.
Cheers, and regards to all the Betty's who help out with the blog.
Dear Betty Carla,
Gosh, Betty Keira and I were practically squealing with excitement! How fun to have a Betty from Australia AND Holland!
I just went in and changed the settings to allow anyone to comment (I also took off the 'word verification' thingy that helps keep out spam - I'll see how it goes - if we end up getting too many unwanted spams, I'll add that back). Hopefully you'll be able to comment now. Let us know if it doesn't work...if it does, we'll be looking forward to seeing your comments (whether we agree with you or not - that's all part of the fun!).
Love and lardy cakes,