*sigh* Reading Betty is such a pleasure. It's like floating in a big blue pool of water, with the sun shining on you, sipping a cool glass of lemonade. She was exactly the break I needed after reading two asshole, physically abusive heroes, with the gentleness of her h's and their chivalry and politeness. GOD I love Betty.
I'm very conflicted about this book. I didn't like the first part all that much, but I loved loved loved the ending!! One of the most beautiful and satisfying HEAs in Neelsland. *sigh* That's why I'm setting for a 3.5 star rating.
Let me talk about the heroine first. She had spirit, I'll give her that. I found myself giggling quite a bit at the tongue-lashings she gave the hero, when he acted all high-and-mighty and had the audacity to 'look at her down his nose'. I generally don't like feisty heroines, but I liked this one very much. Although I wouldn't describe her as feisty, per se, just high-spirited. She wasn't a doormat, she didn't allow the hero to treat her like crap. She stood up for herself, all the while not coming off as bitchy. Now this is the kind of heroine I like.
I also liked the way she wanted to steal him away from his fiancée (who was very unsuitable for him). And I respected that she never did anything about it.
What was very surprising was even though she perversely went out for walking right before a storm just because Christian (the hero) had told her not to, I didn't dislike her at all. I was actually kind of cheering her on.
She was very admirable; being kind, independent, brave, soft, warm-hearted, witty and feminine all together. She was a unique BN heroine, one I won't forget easily.
Now I'll move onto the hero. I quite liked him in the beginning, where he was amused at her appearance, helped out with mopping the cottage (imagine that! This is why I love Betty!), so gently takes care of her when he rescues her from the storm; no angry words or lectures, and rescues her from Rat-Faced Rapist and takes her for lunch. Or was it tea? I forget. Anyways, it's the way he behaved that counts.
And then he turns into an utter asshole whenever Estelle, his fiancée, is mentioned. I abhorred some of the taunts he struck poor Eliza with. And then when he so rudely tells her that he is attracted to her and doesn't want to be and all that shit (my mind has blocked out most of that conversation), I hated him.
And then the Eliza goes to Holland with her patient. And *swoon* Christian is perfect then. The perfect besotted BN hero.
I loved how he defended Eliza against his fiancée, I love how angry he was when she refused to go out to dinner with them all, I loved how he spoke to her and took her for a walk and took her for lunch. But most of all I loved how he declares his love in the end. But I won't go there just yet.
The OW first. She wasn't at all as vicious as BN's OW usually are. She was actually quite nice (if a trifle 'boring') and she had no hidden motives or an inner agenda. She was pretty straightforward and not as spoilt as your regular OW. It was quite convenient that BN miraculously makes her and Other Research Doctor fall for each other, and even more so when she makes Eliza (and Christian too) hear their declaration of love. It's let's-break-engagements time!
NOW we move onto the ending.
Can I just say how much I love Betty Neels? This was one of the sweetest endings I've read by her, with Christian leaning so adorably against the wall, with his hands inside his pockets, declaring his love, and Eliza so bravely telling him that she loved him. *sigh* This one's a keeper.
As for the writing, I really don't need to say anything, do I? I mean, it's Betty Neels after all. She's fabulous.
I love the details in her writing. And I forgive her for making the Highlands look like a dreary place, because she more than made up for it with the ending.