REVIEW: A Valentine for Daisy by Betty Neels
Arrogant, overbearing and dictatorial! Daisy Pelham can’t find much to like about brilliant pediatrician Dr. Valentine Seymour. Yet his small patients seem to adore him, not to mention his twin nephew and niece…leaving Daisy to wonder if perhaps there’s another side to the handsome doctor, one that he doesn’t want her to see.
I was looking for a Valentine’s Day book but although this one is set during the late summer and early autumn with nary a glittery red heart card in sight, it also has great reviews so – the title will have to do.
Daisy Pelham is a small, plump, plain girl with mousy brown hair but a fine pair of grey eyes. While others might think she blushes (fancy, a girl who still blushes) in actuality Daisy’s got a bit of a temper which fires up when Dr. Valentine Seymour seemingly patronizes her. Daisy’s sister Pamela might be studying for her wonderful life at uni after which she’ll marry a rich man (Pamela has already planned out her life), but after their father died and thoughtlessly only left them a few hundred pounds in the bank, Daisy has had to drop out of a regional college and take over the finances and household management as mother is one of those wispy widows who can’t even manage to remember to buy the lamb chops for dinner.
When a slovenly cook’s meal gives food poisoning to all the children at the nursery school where Daisy works, Daisy hops in the ambulance to go to hospital with them. Well, rather that than cleaning up all the sick. There Daisy meets (again) the man she’s seen driving the grey Rolls and discovers he’s the doctor in charge. Dr. Seymour easily manages the sick children, his staff of housemen and interns, the nursing sisters, the peevish, complaining mothers, and Daisy. Stuffing her (I love a Neels hero who stuffs or pops his heroine in the Rolls) in his car (later he “shovels” his niece and nephew into it) and ignoring her grumbling (“If she had known how to toss her head she would have tossed it.”), Val zips Daisy home then, later, tips his sister off about a young woman he knows who is looking for a job given that the nursery will have to be steam cleaned down to the foundation before it can be reopened.
Daisy might turn pink with aggravation when Lady Thorley (whose jersey dress Daisy envies) appears desperately offering Daisy twice what she was making while only having to take care of two children (they’re so naughty and I spoil them, she says) but the money is too good to pass up. Given what demon children these two turn out to be, I’d have chosen to respond to the want ad for a “pig person” but that’s me. Still with the extra money, she can get her sister that baggy sweater Pamela wants, her mother a nice pair of shoes, and Razor (the cat) a tin of luxury cat food. Though she spoils those she loves, Daisy will, naturally, only buy herself a sensible pair of winter boots.
Of course Daisy has only heard Dr. Seymour praise her sense (in the way she keeps a load of sick off the ER floor) as well as her sharp tongue and completely misses the fact that he seems to be keeping an eye on her. Ah yes, we all know for Dr. Seymour it’s love amongst the slightly green faced and vomiting children in the emergency room. Daisy, though, is having none of him. So here is a Neels hero wild for his heroine but for once despite all his best efforts to make life easier for her, he can’t gain any traction. Not only that but he also suffers pangs of jealousy over a very nice clerk Daisy meets in The Hague while minding the twin terrors.
Will Dr. Seymour ever win sharp tongued Daisy over? Will Daisy ever get off the Women’s Ward and away from the termagant ward orderly who is training her for her new job after Lady Thorley charmingly dumps Daisy for a referenced governess? It’s a Betty Neels book people, of course all this and more will happen.
I really enjoyed not having a squashed cabbage heroine. Dr. Seymour does get a touch high handed now and then but it’s for Daisy’s own good, keeps her from having to cycle back and forth to the hospital, gets her to sit down in his lovely house in the Salisbury Close and eat a superb dinner, and charms Daisy’s mother. He also steps up when hooligans begin to rampage through the entryway of the hospital. I’m still not quite sure where that Neels disaster came from but at least it’s not a fire in the operating theatre.
By the end of the book, I felt that it had slowed and dragged just the teensiest bit with one crisis after another but all were masterfully handled by Daisy’s common sense, care, and Dr. Seymour – “Valentine!” as Daisy utters in a moment of heightened emotion – manages to woo and win his love. I would have liked watching Daisy get a Neels Heroine Shopping Extravaganza but you can’t have everything I guess. B+
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