Monday, August 7, 2017

Final Four Voting!

Are we ready for this? That isn't a rhetorical question. I'm not at all sure I'm ready for this! Below, we have the four novels that made it (clawing through a thicket of novels) to the semi-finals, winning their own brackets. 

As the young Hollywood ingenue might say, "It was an honor even to be nominated." (But she says so with her enameled teeth tightly clenched, vowing to take the crown next year (but not if it means working with that handsy art-house director.))

Below, we introduce each of the books (Thanks to the Betties who volunteered to speak on behalf of each title!) and at the end of the post, I've given the match-ups. So, just to make it clear, there will be four books in two match-ups, meaning we will have TWO books that make it into the next round. Best of luck, Bettties!


Representing The Barfing on His Brogues Bracket:
Dearest Love  
Betty Melissa
(Image)
Arabella is a resourceful girl with a plunger.
Be a pity for it to whack you in the kneecaps.
#VoteDearestLove

Oh, Dearest Love! Betty at the height of her later years! It is the book that famously begins with a letter, and ends with a letter. And what letters! Betty gives us beautiful word portraits in these letters. First we have Arabella, writing to apply for a job. From her letter we learn that she is polite, ladylike, accomplished, and matter of fact. Then we have the letter at the end of the book. And we see the passion beneath the aloof veneer Titus has been showing us (and Arabella) throughout the book. Anybody who wonders about the warmth of the marriages of Betty's characters only has to read that letter to know Betty's men are definitely not monks! And so many quotable quotes from this book. "I can only hope that one day before it's too late you will meet a woman who will turn you sides to middle and then tramp all over you". "He's what one would call a magnificent figure of a man...and also a very rude one!" And the immortal "I should like a plunger sir." And those are just from the first few pages of this delightful book. Dearest Love is not my favorite Betty. It isn't the Betty that made me realize I'd stumbled upon a great author. But it was the first Betty I began to go to again and again when I want to spend some time with the lovely people of Betty's world.


Representing The Handful of A Levels Bracket:
A Gentle Awakening 
Betty Donna
That scene! Best scene in all of Bettydom: “Cool off, Miss Fortesque.” Florina, who hadn’t realized that she could feel so royally angry, picked up the jug of lemonade on the table by Wanda’s chair, and poured it slowly over the top of her head. Reading this book again after a long time, it came to me. Satisfying. This is classic Betty on steroids. Florina is an Araminta, plain with sandy/ginger hair, BUT she is a Cordon Bleu chef. She has no false modesty about her cooking. She is an excellent cook and knows she could get a job anywhere. She has the classic awful parent, but this is no die-away voiced mother. No, this is a verbally abusive father and Florina makes no bones about the fact that she feels a duty towards him, but does not love him. He doesn’t deserve it. Once the doctor says her father is healthy enough to do for himself, Florina is gone. Sir William Sedley is the classic Betty doctor with a daughter from his first marriage, but he is not bitter and heartbroken. His daughter is delightful and loves Florina from the beginning. This is a man and a daughter Florina can fall in love with right away, and she does. Satisfying. Of course, this is a Betty, so we need a Veronica. Miss Wanda Fortescue, Sir William’s fiancée. But this is no languid, vague Diana from Judith. No, Wanda is VICIOUS. She comes out with guns blazing from the first time she meets Florina. Does Florina back down? No way. She turns on her mixer and spatters the front of Wanda’s dress with oily salad dressing. She doesn’t just think about doing it, she does it. Satisfying. Florina is an outlier in Betty’s world. She is English, but had a Dutch mother. When Sir William takes her to Holland, it is HER family she visits. She speaks Dutch fluently. Satisfying. Felix, the equivalent of the handsy houseman in this book, is given short shrift by Florina. She doesn’t fall for his smarmy manner as so many other Aramintas do. Satisfying. Then, of course, there is THE SCENE. I had forgotten that Wanda actually slapped Florina and that was the catalyst for the infamous lemonade pour. Nanny and Jolly heard and saw everything. They have Florina’s back, but she doesn’t need their support. Sir William asks her what happened and she won’t say, but he doesn’t make her apologize as we’ve seen in other Betty novels. He knows Wanda must have had it coming and he lets it go (while his daughter howls with laughter in the next room) Satisfying. Finally, the ending. Sir William doesn’t just find a millionaire to take Wanda, he pulls a “Parent Trap” on her. “He had, for his own purposes, taken her for a walk that afternoon; a long walk along bridle paths and over fields of rough grass… climbing any number of gates. Wanda, her tights laddered, stung by nettles and unsuitably shod in high heels, almost spat at him…” So, so satisfying. Having tied up all the loose ends, he goes to get her and tells her he loves her while driving in the fast lane. Back home to beautiful Wheel House with plenty of kisses. Satisfying.


Representing The Hocked Locket Bracket:
Henrietta's Own Castle
Betty Christina
(Image)
Marnix isn't here to insult you with offers of his undying love and a garnet necklace.
Surely the garnet necklace will be enough for your vote.
#VoteHenriettasOwnCastle

It is interesting to me that I love Henrietta’s Castle so much, because in some ways it has features I hate – our heroine and her RDD spend a fair amount of time being rude to each other, the Veronica is an implausible youngster, etc, but it also has some absolutely wonderful aspects that far, far outweigh the bad ones. In chronological order, they are: - The premise. Who hasn’t ever wished some unknown relative (since we wouldn’t want our known ones to die off) would leave them a house in a foreign county, with enough money to go on for a little while? I absolutely love the descriptions of her packing up in Charlie, her decrepit Mini, and leaving everything she knows to move, and then exploring her new home. - He brings her a kitten. And she puts the kitten in her tea cosy. - While they are both snippy or rude some of the time, there are also several cozy scenes of them talking and getting to know each other pleasantly. I never quite believe the books where they fight until the absolute last page. - A sufficient amount of drama – the plane crash! And the horse giving birth in a field in the snow! - The ending where he climbs the wall of her garden “with the agility of a much younger man” because she had told him she would never open her door to him. This scene is one of my favorites in the entire cannon. - And, best of all, a satisfyingly long ending where they both explain their confusions and their love. Too many Betties get wrapped up in a single paragraph, and this one gives you all you could want.


Representing The Imperiled Poppets Bracket:
The Promise of Happiness
Betty Pam
(Image)
Bertie and Pooch aren't going to tell you how to vote, okay?
Bertie and Pooch are just going to drip all over your Bentley and
look mournful until you do what you know you should have done all along.
#VoteBeckyandtheBarontheHotHotBaron

Why The Promise of Happiness Deserves to be Crowned “The Best Betty Book” 1. You run away at 4AM in the pouring rain with £30.06 to save your dog and cat from being put down by your step-brother. 2. You’re rescued by a handsome Baron in a Rolls. But later you hear him tell his nice sister that you aren’t his cup of tea. 3. He gives you a job, helps you find a place to live and dives into a nasty canal to free your wire-entangled dog who ran away in a storm. 4. He invites you to dinner, but you truly have nothing to wear, so he pretends that he really meant a picnic and gives his housekeeper 15 minutes to get it ready. 5. He drinks a sweet Moselle that he detests because he knows you’ll like it. 6. When you remind him of the “not my cup of tea” insult, he turns it around with “but you’re my glass of champagne.” 7. He drags Veronica to a dreary chamber music concert just to stare at the back of your head whilst you’re on a date with a houseman (not the Handsy type). 8. Then he offers you and your date a ride home with him and Veronica. He cleverly maneuvers so he ends up alone with you. Takes you to eat pancakes. Kisses you and says “goodnight, my pretty little mouse.” 9. Rescues you from Basil again, this time in London. Gives you tea, holds your hand and refuses to give it back. Says: “"I've been wanting to hold your hand for a long time, and now that I have it, I don't intend to let it go." 10. When you remind him that you have yet been asked to marry him, he says "dare to say no," and kisses you.



Now, that your mind is spinning with possibilities, here are the voting match-ups:

Dearest Love vs. 
A Gentle Awakening 

AND

Henrietta's Own Castle vs.
The Promise of Happiness

34 comments:

  1. A Gentle Awakening
    The Promise of Happiness

    The second was easy, no need to think, at all. ❤️The Promise of Happiness❤️, one of my top threeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
    The first match-up was easy, too, but I gave Dearest Love a few seconds to change my mind...

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  2. Thank you, Bettys Melissa, Donna, Christina and Pam, for summing up the best of the best four. Fun to read. So satisfying.

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  3. Betty Barbara here, thanking the Bettys for their passionate partisanship for our final four entries.

    I'm voting for:
    Dearest Love
    The Promise of Happiness

    Sorry, Florina, sorry Henrietta. I love you, ladies--just not quite enough to vote for this time.

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  4. A Gentle Awakening
    The Promise of Happiness

    Love TGB and love the reviews!
    I still have about 25 books to go in the canon and dread coming to the end, but I'm already planning which book to reread first :)
    Betty Lee

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  5. Thank you Betties for your summaries of the final four. Now for the hard part.

    I am voting for

    Dearest Love
    Henrietta's Own Castle

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  6. Dearest Love and Henrietta's Own Castle

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  7. Dearest Love and The Promise of Happiness.

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  8. A Gentle Awakening and The Promise of Happiness. Sad to see a lot of my other favourites fall by the way side though.

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  9. Dearest love
    Henrietta Own Castle

    Couldn't go wrong with any of these four. Or many others that ended up on the dust heap...

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  10. A Gentle Awakening
    &
    The Promise of Happiness!

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  11. A Gentle Awakening
    Henrietta's Own Castle

    I honestly just typed The Promise of Happiness and then deleted it. It's that close.

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    Replies
    1. I know, me too. The first pairing was relatively easy (I've never been a big fan of Arabella, although Titus is a dear), but that second pairing is pretty much dead even.

      Delete
  12. A Gentle Awakening
    &
    Henrietta's Own Castle <3 <3

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  13. A Gentle Awakening & The Promise of Happiness

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    Replies
    1. Hi, there! Haven't seen you in a while! I remember reading your Betty blog. 🤗

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  14. A Gentle Awakening
    The Promise of Happiness

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  15. Dearest Love
    The Promise of Happiness

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  16. Gentle Awakening
    Henrietta's Own Castle
    Although all 4 are in my top 10!

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  17. Thank you for the wonderful summaries, made it even more difficult if possible! That said, my vote is for:
    A Gentle Awakening
    The Promise of Happiness

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  18. Dearest Love
    Promise of Happiness

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  19. Dearest Love
    The Promise of Happiness

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  20. A Gentle Awakening
    The Promise of Happiness

    AGW has always been one of my absolute favourites, but TPoH never quite worked for me. I think the opening is ridiculous, and Becky's lameness in fending of Basil at the end makes me want to screech. However, Betty Pam's cogent summary, especially #10, tipped my vote that way. Thank you!

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  21. A Gentle Awakening
    The Promise of Happiness

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  22. A Gentle Awakening
    The Promise of Happiness

    I am so sad to have to choose between Dearest Love and A Gentle Awakening. The wonderful summaries above helped me choose.

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  23. May a first-time commenter cast a vote? Dearest Love and Henrietta's Own Castle. The four finalists are probably my favourite Betty Books.

    Georgina

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  24. I can't vote in the Final Four since I've only read one BN book in each bracket.

    However, I was curious about something -- and wanted to ask:

    Do other BN fans frequently lose sleep (as in, stay up, way, way past your bed time) to read BN books?

    I do this pretty often myself. It's hard to find time to read, otherwise.

    If I was supposed to ask a question like this in another thread, so as not to clutter up the Final Four Voting, let me know, and I can "mend my ways!" :-)

    Thanks, Anonymous Lea in KY

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Betty Lea. Reading late at night has always been a habit of mine, ever since I was a little girl!

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    2. Oh, you are not alone, Betty Lea. I suspect if we were all in the same time zone we could have late night chats.

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  25. Betty Pam and Betty BarbN, It is neat to know I'm not the only one who looses sleep to read. Thank you both for your replies to my question. Hope you've each enjoyed your Saturday. I am starting to read "A Girl Named Rose" for the first time ever. From Betty Keira's lovely review, I think I shall enjoy it. --Anonymous Betty Lea in KY

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. Gentle Awakening and Henrietta's Own Castle. Is the voting still open? I had to go back and re-read to decide!!

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  28. Hello, all! Crawling out of the woodwork to vote for:

    Dearest Love (one of my very favorites)

    The Promise of Happiness

    Hope you all have been happy and well!

    Betty AnoninTX

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  29. Dearest Love and Promise of Happiness !

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