Monday, September 11, 2017

A Bite of Betty

Reading Betty Neels is weird. Well, it's not her fault. But you feel me. The whole reason The Uncrushable Jersey Dress exists is because fellow Founding Betty Debbie and I didn't know one single other soul whose jam was vast Dutch doctors, socking, great Bentleys, shocking ward emergencies, swooping kisses, tiny bedsits and the loneliness of stone-cold foxes staring thirty in the face.
Annis wondered if Jake even knew what a biological clock was.

So you can imagine my delight when I was on a long road trip with a friend of many years and she said, "The Betty blog. I don't get it. I think I should get it. You need to let me read one of those."

Oh Betties. It was like someone ringing the Avon lady's doorbell and asking for three tubes of Fearless Fuchsia, extra toner and something for the eyelashes.
"I suppose I'd say my make-up routine is Elizabeth Arden blusher...liberally applied."

I decided to pick out five titles. And I'm not going to pretend that I spent a massive time weighing my options or that she is going to read them all but I figured I would offer her the equivalent of a tapas night of Betty books. A little of this, a little of that...

Here they are:

A Kiss For Julie--we have a classic Oliva, homemade clothes, an attempted burglary and a faithful family retainer. My copy is a large print and that can't hurt. I want to make this trip into BettyLand as painless as possible.

Magic in Vienna--My friend will get to enjoy the classic Betty tropes of negligent parenting, medical emergencies and handsy housemen.

The Little Dragon--I picked this because it's so different than a large number of Bettys. Lies and farce and drinks down dresses. If the others don't hook her, maybe this off-beat number will?

Discovering Daisy--My friend is interested in old things and I hoped that this book, revolving around antiques, might pique her interest. It is also a wonderful example of the Late Canon.

The Promise of Happiness (or Becky and the Baron, the hot, hot Baron)--I really went back and forth about whether or not to give my friend any of the top 10-ish novels. I don't want her to peak too early and think of the others as "Fine...but..." Nevertheless, it's a masterpiece (if that's your chocolate covered digestive biscuit) and I hope it casts a spell like a dryad sucking a sailor onto rocky schoals.

"Well, it was like this. One second Tiele was purchasing
two tickets to a chamber music concert and the next second..."

Tell me in the comments if you have some better ideas and let me know if your own stabs at Betty Evangelism have bourne fruit. I'll let you know how this goes!