Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Reading With Betty Rebecca

Introduce yourself (Be as vague or as specific as you like.)
My name is Rebecca.  I am 50 years old. I reside in Columbus, Ohio, USA for the last 20 years.
I’m a long-time paralegal, now working on the life and annuity side of a major insurer based in
Columbus after years in a law firm.  I’m married to a university professor, although not one of the
RBD/RDD variety, unfortunately! We’ve been married for 23 years, we have no children but an
abundance of felines, fish and a single dog who the cats absolutely adore.
We see how it is.
I like to travel (preferably warm beaches and Europe), read and write although all three have
suffered due to changes in family members’ health.
I found this group entirely by accident.  I’ve been the caregiver for my MIL and FIL in Florida and
California.  I have been “flying the triangle” once a month for the last three years.  I usually work
on the flight using the in-flight internet. One trip had bad internet. I wasn’t interested in the in-flight
movies, but had a couple Betty Neels books on my iPad purchased back in 2012.  I re-read both on
the flight and when I landed and had internet, I searched for a list of her books and found The
Uncrushable Jersey Dress blog. I was almost devastated to see no recent comments on the entries,
but I found “my people” had moved to Facebook and immediately asked to join the group.  
Thanks to the website’s reviews and comments, the FB group, and Amazon, I’ve read 114 Betty
Neels books since June 23, 2018 – the day the internet went out on Delta.  Now I’ll always say
“The Nasty Marriage” and giggle if I hear about Brighton, no matter how innocent the reference.
We are all adults here.
I’ve always thought I should introduce myself on the FB group, but as an introvert, I never found the right time for me.  Betty Keira’s suggestion to do these interviews was my opening to “come out” to you all.

When did you start reading Betty Neels?
I was in my early 20s, to the best of my recollection.  I may have read a couple in my teens, but I
just don’t remember.  My mother liked Betty Neels, and I remember visiting her at her home in my
20s, and she had a few in the guest room, which I read and can’t forget.  I know my first books were
“The Doubtful Marriage”, “The Promise of Happiness” and “Esmerelda”.
What is your favorite book(s) and why?
Oh, to be able to narrow it down to a single book!
“The Doubtful Marriage” and “The Promise of Happiness” are favorites because they were my first.  
Luckily, “The Promise of Happiness” is a great BN book! Knowing its alternate name of “Becky and
the Hot, Hot Baron” cemented it at the top of my favorite list.  Since picking up Betty again, I must
add Caroline’s Waterloo to the list, as well. “The Secret Pool” and “The Hasty Marriage” would
round out my absolute favorites list, I think.
For some reason, I’m quite partial to the Marriage of Convenience theme.
Shout out to the Greatest Marriage of Convenience that almost was...
Least favorite and why?
I disliked Victory of Victoria immensely.  Apparently, I don’t care for the mostly straightforward
romance (by Betty standards).  Apparently, I need an arranged marriage, or a faux-courtship
punctuated by snippiness and misunderstandings!

I dislike Winter Wedding for many reasons, but the top reason was the Seconal Twins event.  
The Right Kind of Girl is a bottom-feeder too just for the “Diana is worth a dozen of you” comment,
with no apology.  
What appeals to you about Betty Neels novels and why do you find yourself attached to them?
Even if I’ve never read the book, there’s a predictability in her work that is immensely comforting to
me.  I don’t have a life – or at least I haven’t accepted quite yet that this is my new life - due to
caregiving while working full time and trying to manage the house.  These books are a welcome
escape that I simply can’t explain.
Also, I watch Midsommer Murders.  I’m not sure if any of Betty’s books are set in Midsommer
Murder’s filming areas, but it never fails to amaze me what little Betty Neels things are still
referenced in a more modern TV show – tea (high and cream), elevens, village fetes, the vicar,
the local Lord/Lady, the Veronica-like wives (many of whom are annoying and rude), the kids with
the nanny all day, and so on.  I’m always saying to my not-rich psychology professor that some
little reference is always in my “old-fashioned romances”. Midsommer even went to Brighton for
an episode!
Is Betty Keira going to deny you John Nettles? No she will not.

What is your favorite genre(s) to read?
Probably contemporary fiction, although I like some non-fiction.
Do you have a favorite book in any of these genres?
Children's/Picture book
The Madeline series of books
The Great Gatsby
Most anything of Jane Austen
Most of the Patricia Cornwell mysteries involving Dr./ME Kay Scarpetta.
Atlas Shrugged
Brave New World
Fahrenheit 451
No, You Guys. Not that 1984.

Being Mortal
The Last Lecture
Eat Pray Love
Anne Frank: A Diary of a Young Girl
Anything by Bill Bryson
Too many to list…I like WWII history, documentaries and related autobiographies and biographies.  
I used to be a regular consumer of the self-help genre. If it involved organization and simplification,
I was willing to read it!
And the Band Played On – one that stuck with me for a long time for many reasons
Harry Potter series
Anne of Green Gables series
Oh, Anne. We love you so.

What are the five books you would take if you were stranded on a deserted island?
The Godfather
Brave New World
Caroline’s Waterloo (yes, a Betty is going!)
Gone with the Wind
Atlas Shrugged
Where do you do most of your reading?
Until October 2018, airplanes – I started picking weekend flights so I didn’t feel obligated to work
and would just read for 6 hours.  
Now that I’ve moved my mother-in-law to Ohio, I usually read in bed for an hour or so.  If I am
slacking on housework, I read in the family room.
What books are in your to-be-read pile?
Far too many, but at the top of the Kindle download list:
Rock Needs River
The Forgotten Hours
Feast: True Love In and Out of the Kitchen
The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen
Of course, I want to finish the rest of the BN collection, but I do tend to pick these up when they go
on sale at Amazon and the last handful hasn’t dropped in price lately.
Do you listen to books? Any favorites on Audible?
I don’t typically listen to books but I did listen to Under the Banner of Heaven, Me Before You and
its sequel during my drives from LAX to Orange County.
Betty Rebecca had yet to be sold on audio books.
Do you have any memories of being read to or reading with others?
I don’t, other than one teacher reading in the 4th grade.  I’m not sure why I became a reader, other
than watching my mother read romances any chance she had.  Or perhaps it was due to my severe
introversion. My sister, as an adult, became a prolific reader and we often shared books as adults.
What book was the first one to ignite your interest in reading?
The Witch of Blackbird Pond… my fourth grade teacher read it out loud to the class.  I grew impatient
waiting for the next chapter, and just checked it out from the school library myself and finished it.  
I became a regular library patron at that point. I also liked to read the encyclopedias, one of the few
things my father bought of use to us kids.
What's a book you find yourself constantly recommending?
The Gift of Fear
Atlas Shrugged
Anything else?
I think I’ve already typed too much.  Anyway, thank you for putting this together and creating the
Facebook Group and the book review site.  My life lately, thanks to my rekindled love for all things
Betty, has had far more joy than Kon-Mari’ing my drawers ever could.
Aw. That makes us feel as happy as a precisely folded shirt.


  1. Another lovely interview. So nice to get to know you, Betty Rebecca--thank you for sharing your reading journey. :)

  2. Thank you for introducing yourself, Betty Rebecca!

    A Betty who shares her first name with one of my favourite heroines! 🐈 🐕

    Another Betty who loves Midsomer Murders! — We watched two re-runs, last night, both with John Nettles.

    Another Betty who loves Anne with an E!

    💖The Promise of Happiness💖, ❤️Caroline’s Waterloo❤️, and 💕The Hasty Marriage💕 are among my TOP favourites, too!

    114 down, only 21 more stories to go!