Monday, April 19, 2010

Book 3 of 15: Nanny by Chance by Betty Neels

Betty Neels has written over 100 novels . . . and almost all of them are going to be about a Dutch doctor (large, but moves quickly for his size, light-complected, thin-lipped, very handsome, very smart, and very rich) and a nice English girl (plain, but with speaking eyes and masses of mousy hair, almost certainly taking care of some ailing relative who doesn't thank her for it). There will be rich descriptions of old houses, new (but sensible!) clothes and yummy teatimes. 

"Nanny by Chance" is no different, but it was the perfect book for a Sunday afternoon.  Here is a typical passage:

Araminta had a quick shower and got into another skirt and  a pretty blouse, spent the shortest possible time over her face and hair and nipped downstairs again with a few minutes to spare. She suspected that the doctor was a man who invited punctuality.

He was in the drawing room still, but he got up as she went in, offered her a glass of sherry, enquired if the boys were asleep and made small talk until Bas came to tell them that dinner was ready.

Araminta was hungry and Jet was a splendid cook. She made her way through mushrooms in a garlic and cream sauce, roast guinea fowl, and apple tart with whipped cream. Mindful of good manners, she sustained a polite conversation the while.

It's all so very correct, and if you're asking where the romance is . . . well, that's often what I find myself asking when I read a Betty Neels book. She seems to assume that you will fill in all the details; though she often tells you what the characters are feeling, she always seems to skip the steps that tell you  why the characters are feeling that way. About halfway through the book, she will inform you the heroine has fallen in love, and a few pages before the end, she'll let you know the hero has fallen in love too. And you just take her at her word, because she's led you through so many lovely old houses and parks and dishes of mushrooms and cream. If you feel like a lazy afternoon tour through the more civilized parts of England and Holland, then a good Betty Neels book is just what you're looking for.

peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

No comments: