I have been lurking around your blog for over a year now and have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the reviews and the recent reprises. My interest in Betty Neels started after I read An Unlikely Romance and then I just had to read all of her works. My favourites are Caroline’s Waterloo and Saturday’s Child.
I am a PhD student at the University of Tasmania and currently doing my thesis in romance novels and their consumption in India. I always had a love-hate relationship with romance novels and that in some manner drove me towards my research.
|Romance Goes Tenting?|
Seriously, how awesome is
that for a title?
“There are lots of older women like me who don’t want to be shocked or horrified in their reading. I admire Mills & Boon for sticking to their principles and not allowing sordid details. Some of the books I object to are awfully clever and well written, but I think there should be a self-imposed limit on pornography. After all, life is rather romantic.” (122)
On choosing Hospitals for settings she said:
“The hospital world is a bit of mystery to most people – dramatic and exciting. Members of the medical profession are indispensable and for the most part are splendid men and women, modest about their skill, and working for and with them, a nurse realises that, although she may not feel romantic about it, others do.” (122)
In 1972 a M&B manuscript editor disagreed with Neels over the passage in Uncertain Summer. Originally, it appears, Neels had planned Gijs and Serena to have a large family with at least four boys and four girls. The editor wanted it to shorten the four to two. Neels’ reply to this was:
“a large family is a marvellous thing (You’ve noted that my heroes are always well-heeled!). ...for purely selfish reasons....I find it just as unforgivable for a couple to decide on a second car instead of a baby...I also feel that if birth control is pushed too far, the coming generations are going to lose their sense of responsibility and family life, as such, will disappear.” (266)
However, as we know she did edit the last few lines of Gijs and Serena’s implied conjugal relations.
Later apparently, she was asked to include “sex in her books but she firmly declined, dismissing the current Mills & Boon romances as ‘gynaecological training manuals’”. (289)
After reading these fascinating titbits, I knew I just had to share it with you. Hope you enjoy it. :)
Dear Betty Shilpa,
Enjoy it? You're my hero.
Love and lemon tarts,