Sunday, July 10, 2011


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):

Hi Betty???

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.

Carla *****

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,
Betty Debbie


  1. Welcome Betty Carla! I must agree with the Betty sisters, that fact that you are Dutch and Australian makes you super fun to have in the group. Thanks for writing and sharing a little bit of your life with us. I laughed at your tale of the name other dutch people call you, Limburgers! Now I don't feel so bad about being called a troll by the people who live above the bridge in my state of Michigan. (We live under the Macinaw Bridge. ;-)

  2. Betty Barbara here--
    Welcome Betty Carla!
    I was fortunate enough to live in Melbourne for 3 years back in the 1980's. And loved every minute of it!! We did a lot of driving around and visited Adelaide. Who knows? We well may have driven through your town!!
    And don't fret about not agreeing with the Founding Bettys' ratings--that's part of the fun!

  3. Just adding my welcome to the others' - they've said all the right things so I'll close with that! :)

    me<>< (AKA BettyCindy)

  4. Welcome Betty Carla!!!
    How exciting to have another international Betty aboard! I'm excited to hear your insights about our beloved Betty!
    Betty Laurel

  5. Dag! Betty Carla -- Please come and comment on any of the books. The Founding Bettys have a widget that shows the most recent comments, and if you comment on a book they reviewed yonks ago, we'll still see your comment and all come to chat about that book. Yes, even if it means we repeat ourselves.

    Betty Magdalen

  6. Welcome, Betty Carla. How fun! You can help us with our Dutch pronunciation. :-) Aren't the founding Bettys fun? We all love them.

  7. Welcome, Betty Carla. I'm a newer follower of this blog too. :)

  8. Hello Betty's,
    Thanks so much for your site. I adore it! Have been reading and rereading all the terrific and achingly funny review archive, as I have read every Betty book so far. Well perhaps I have read many now and have skimmed quite a few too.(Its so easy to get ebooks now, none that I have actually bought though ;-)
    I am an antipodean person from both NZ and Australia, and I also live in Hong Kong you can add that to the many nationalities here...with the United States of course!
    Am in my thirties, romance novels are my dirty embarrassing sweet secret. I remember reading The Promise of Happiness found in an op-shop (second hand store for those North of us), an all-time favourite. I feel in love with old fashioned Mills and Boon novels. But its not until I downloaded online a whole pile of Betty books and suddenly started reading them and was caught. It was all for nostalgia and tongue in cheek laughs but La Neels pacing and sweet crazy little world was addictive...
    Anyway will keep up with your posts. Will keep reading Betty's parables of romance. I do worry though a bit about the hero's, ahem, sex life. How can so many or her men be prepared for lifing a those RDD have such a low, er, drive they are prepared to go without forever. I mean the heroes who do not suspect the female will fall in love with them but actually want just friendly companionship...
    Also are ALL these guys virgins? They don't seem to ever have live-in girlfriends and have some sort of high moral code and sometimes do not expect to have sex after marriage???
    Obviously Betty world has taken too much mental thought here from me, I have none left! THANKS all

  9. Welcome to Betty Hong Kong (not really but that will do to be getting on with)! I love, love, The Promise of Happiness. The heroine is just so awesome.

    As to the question of previous visitations of Brighton, I could just hug Betty for not including the one line that I want to smack most clean-romance authors for including--something to the effect of all the heroes trips to Brighton have been numerous and often and off-stage. (And in regencies, all side effects (babies and STDs)being entirely absent.)

    When it has something to do with the plot it's at least forgivable but usually it's a sloppy and icky double-standard-y way to make sure we know he's an Alpha.

    As Betty demonstrates time and again, it is possible to establish a hero's bad-@#@ bonafides without discussing his past at all. Therefore, the reader could infer as much or as little from 'I'm not a monk!' as they'd like.

    And really, my imagination doesn't have to stretch very far to think they can be virgins (why does that word make me giggle) and manly. The fella I married was one and the same.


  10. Welcome Betty Anonymous (can we call you Betty An for short.;-)
    To answer your first question, of course not, some were married before. 8-P And of course, some have had 'lots of experience' with women. And for goodness sake, it's not like they are going to DIE if they don't, despite what all the young jocks tell their girlfriends. But most RDDs and even the RBDs seem quiet ready to get going with implied conjugal relations, once it's clear that everyone is in love, etc. Notice how fast the non-MOC's marry.
    I get Betty's world because it's the world I live in. We don't live together or fool around before marriage. Guys have self control and aren't ruled by their hormones. Sex isn't a need, it's a privileged that comes with responsibilities. All my kids live that way, especially the boys, who are now young men. And so did my brothers and many of their sons and many others that I know. Sorry, don't mean to preach, but it kind of saddens me that the world sees no value to living a chaste life. That's one of the reasons I love Betty Neels.

  11. Hooray, BettyMary! DO preach it - perhaps that's what's wrong - those of us who believe in chastity outside of marriage and monogamy after have been SHAMED (IMAGINE THAT!!!!) into thinking we're the freaks! It's possible. It's expected in many cultures around the world, and certainly in the Judeo-Christian world of the faithful. And the rewards are many.

    So welcome to BettyAn Hong Kong. :) I have a friend who lives in Australia and she first introduced me to the term "op shop," which in _my_ ticky-tacky world growing up in the 60s and 70s, was what we called the special education classes in Jr & Sr High. I don't even know why - I just know that I read that term, "op shop," I'm 14 again, trying to pretend that my cousin isn't in the Op Shop. :(

    This is a perverse world we live in!

    But this is a wonderful blog and we're fast making true friends here, so jump in - the (tea) water is fine. :)


  12. What's a shame (I think -- and remember that I'm writing contemporary romances) is the assumption that it has to be one monolithic thing for everyone.

    Here's the monolithic thing I will preach about: if you're driving to Brighton WEAR GLOVES. Every time, without fail, no matter what your traveling companion says.

    Of course, not going to Brighton solves that problem, but as the daughter of a couple who disagreed so much about what one should see and do in Brighton that their last trip to Brighton was probably when they picked me up at an "op shop" (or maybe it was the local confectioner's -- it was a long time ago), I can see an argument for the other side. In my parents' case, that last trip to Brighton was ten years into a 50+ years not-very-happy marriage -- that's a long time not to visit a pretty seaside tourist destination. (And I will not comment on whether either of my parents went to Brighton without the other. They may be dead, but they're still my parents.)

    But even with my parents as a cautionary tale, I KNOW that when it comes to travel arrangements (and gloves) one size does not fit all. Not everyone is going to want to read my books, but I support the right of every reader to decide for herself how the GPS should be programmed before she starts reading.

    (I'm nominating this comment for this week's "Best Use of Brighton as a Euphemism" award.)

  13. Oh, you're right, BettyMagdalen - there isn't and shouldn't be a "monolithic" formula for romances or any other genre for that matter. I guess I just get frustrated that if one has a traditional, conservative "old fashioned" view of How Things Should Be, one is somehow made to feel as though it's not only unrealistic it's freakish. It's neither. Is it for everyone? Certainly not. Is it possible and even desirable? Definitely.

    That's all I was saying.


  14. Betty Cindy -- I agree with you: that frustrates me too. And I get even more frustrated by the assumption of I-don't-know-who (publishers? bloggers?) that the books that eschew trips to Brighton must also be Inspirationals as if you'd only opt for a Brighton-free premarital itinerary if you were religious.

    And don't even get me started on the people (they do exist, alas) who argue that it's anti-feminist and thus sexist to present that same Brighton-free itinerary for any heroine over the age of mumblety-mumble. What ever happened to the notion that feminism is about being allowed to make choices for oneself -- like choosing not to visit Brighton? Makes me so mad. grrr

    I told you: my only monolith is the gloves thing.

  15. Betty Cindy, that's it exactly! In a perfect world the truth would be (will be) obvious to all and we'd all be on the same page. In the meantime, we respect each other, and follow the path that we see most clearly is the correct one.

    Betty Magdalen, I love Brighton. I would never try to convince an adult not to go there. I go there all the time in reality. Don't need gloves, but did need citizenship papers. Don't think it's necessary to read about other's travels there. Not going to teach my kids that going to Brighton without papers is an option, and I believe in keeping those travelogues out of the young ones hands. That's one of the reason I collected all the Betty's and hundreds of trad regencies.
    My mom must have really loved it. There were ten of us, and dad died at 51! And this is funny, right now she lives in a care home in where else: Brighton, MI lol

    I second the nomimation! That was pretty clever.

    I love it here, because we are civil and those of us who feel sometimes that we are 'out of it' in the real world can find kind voices here.
    Both of yours' being two of the kindest, Betty Magdalen & Betty Cindy.

  16. Betty Keira, That's a beautiful response, thank you, it actually helped. I love the idea that it should be left to the imagination of the reader. One can be a hero and fall either side of Brighton. How smart, though in my case obviously I should expand my own value judgements. Also true that it's a jarring double standard that in many books the man has to have 'experience' to be worthy or that there is only one expected way to behave.
    So in this case I will imagine that some of her heroes may be virginal...and while there naughtily imagine some of her heroines may no bet...a bit of Betty-radicalising. Oops personal TMI
    BettyMary, Betty...'ma or Betty Cindy and Betty Magdalen. Yes, freedom of choice to be true to your own code and in Brighton gloves on is helpful, as well as a stylish and useful accessory. Tee hee about all the Brighton references, giggling.
    Thanks for the warm welcome, Bye from Betty Anhk (sounds dutch). Have been to The Netherlands a few times but married a German, wrong country and profession, whoops next time.
    Special Education class = Op Shop, so funny and wrong ;)

  17. I was wondering why I didn't get a reply to my email but now I've accidently seen my email on your blog I was very surprised and thrilled by the welcome given to me by all the other Betty lovers. Just one question, what's an MOC, guess I need to check out your website for the abbreviations.

  18. A brief guide:

    MOC = Marriage of Convenience
    HEA = Happily Ever After
    Brighton = euphemism for...s*e*x

    The Great Betty played to her strengths and didn't vary her heroines too much, here's our shorthand:
    The 'Araminta' = small, plain heroine
    The 'Olivia' = tall,beautiful, junoesque/statuesque heroine.

  19. Betty Debbie, don't leave out the outlier = anybody a little different. :-) Ocassionally, one gets a nice blond bob, a short pretty girl with a neat figure or something else off the reservation. RDD's are pretty much all the same mold, though.
    Betty Cyndi

  20. Betty Cyndi,
    You are so right about the outliers!

    If you think about it, there are a few (very few) outliers amongst the heros too. Who can forget Oliver Trentham from A Girl to Love (instead of vast RDD, he's a long and lean tv scriptwriter!

  21. LOL about the Brighton dialog. I wonder: anyone out there in Brighton, England, who's taking offense?

  22. hahahhahahha! My question would be: Why are they in Brighton and what are they doing there?

  23. Betty Lulu -- In at least one of the books (but more likely two or three), the heroine is dating Nasty Nick the Houseman for YEARS. So when he says, "I say old girl. Come to dinner with me and wear a pretty new frock you can ill afford," she thinks he's going to pop the question, pop open a ring box, and pop the cork on some champers.

    Uh, no. Instead, he invites her to BRIGHTON (cue the deeply significant organ music) for the weekend, and chides her as OLD FASHIONED when she declines. She gets mad, he leaves her with the check and she has no money.

    Enter the nearest RDD to the rescue.

    Also, my ex-husband (Betty Henry) has confirmed that Brighton really was one of those places that you could take a young-woman-not-your-wife in the 1960s when it was your intention to check in as Mr. and Mrs. Smith no questions asked.

    So, with all due respect to the fine residents of Brighton, we didn't throw a dart at a map of the United Kingdom and say, "Right. That's going to be the Euphemism Capital." If we had, we'd most likely have ended up with Budleigh Salterton or worse. (For worse -- and don't say I didn't warn you -- read this article in the New York Times.)

  24. Thanks for that article, Betty Magdalen. Yes, I remember the book but had to look it up. It was Sun and Candlelight. Also, Betty and the real world must not have changed much from the world of Jane Austen, in whose Pride and Prejudice Lydia Bennett literally went to Brighton where she took up with George Wickam!