REVIEW: Damsel in Green by Betty Neels
She’d do anything for the children’s sake
Georgina Rodman had been given a special nursing assignment—she was to look after the Van den Berg Eyffert children, who were recovering from an accident. Having worked in a casualty ward, Georgina felt she could cope with just about anything life threw at her.
But that was before she met the children’s guardian, Julius. Afterward, she realized that even common sense and a practical nature couldn’t stop her from falling in love…with a man who didn’t even know she existed!
In a recent News Bit, Mzcue mentioned how she learned Dutch and we all exchanged comments about the awesomeness of the Dutch in regard to the number of languages they speak and I mentioned Betty Neels heroines learning Dutch and this book title came up. Since I knew that lots of people like it and I’d been meaning to read it, I loaded it on my reader and here we are.
Yeah so English nurse heroine meets handsome Dutch doctor round seven? eight?…. I don’t even know at this point. George (as most everyone at the hospital calls her) finds out she’s passed her nursing exams on the day the book starts. Matron tells George that with a few months of experience under her belt, she ought to be able to secure a Staff Nurse position at St. Athels. In the meantime, it’s a couple of weeks of night nurse duty in the Emergency Department for her!
When paired with her favorite interns, George doesn’t mind but put her with a stuck up sub and George has no problem icily putting the man in his place. With the patients though, George is wonderful. One night the ambulance drivers bring in a car full of relatives – two young children and their older brother. Soon she’s helping take care of poor Cor, with two broken legs, and his sister Beatrix when a large man arrives. Professor Julius Van den Berg Eyffert (wow, what a name!) has entered George’s life.
Before George knows what has hit her, she’s been hired to nurse Cor at home while he’s stuck in traction. Soon she’s charmed by all the children in the family (who are NOT plot moppets) and finds herself intrigued by their cousin Julius (it’s complicated). Before much longer, she realizes she’s falling for the handsome doctor as well as (but this is much less important) getting used to the lifestyle of the Van den Berg Eyfferts.
George is a natural with the children who adore her as much as they do their cousin Julius. But Julius had strictly specified that George wear her nursing uniform at all times and always politely addresses her as Nurse Rodman. George realizes her feelings but also realizes that Julius appears to feel nothing but polite interest in her. When another woman’s name is mentioned – no doubt a beautiful creature straight from the pages of Vogue – George acknowledges to herself that she’d better take that nursing position she’s been offered. But could there be another fate in store for her?
This book is heavy on the nursing duties at the beginning and then continues that – to a degree – through a lot of the book. It was still the age when minor things could keep one actually in the hospital for a while and when private duty nursing wasn’t considered outrageous. I enjoyed the little touches that Betty might have done or at least seen such as when George is called in to see Matron and only has time to flip her apron over, hoping the stains won’t show.
The professor is loaded with moolah so having George live in the grand old Tudor house along with the four children, Julius and the staff is nothing. The family treats her so well that George is understandably confused over what to think given the requirement to wear her uniform and how Julius always treats and addresses her courteously but formally. Every time one of them appears ready to actually say anything, they’re interrupted.
And therein might be the problem for readers. We know that George is falling for Julius and from things he and others say and do, we can tell he’s falling for her but darn it! he won’t say anything (for totally noble reasons and it seems only to her though everyone else is watching him bungle things with exasperation) and poor George is all confused. It takes the beastly other woman to bring matters to a head before Julius finally gets with the proposal.
Things and people I adored: George sticks up for herself professionally and never falls into Squashed Cabbage Mode, the children are wonderful and I actually never minded any scene they were in, George politely but firmly rounds on Julius for the messes he can create with his mail and he meekly listens to her, Cor begins teaching George Dutch, and finally Great Uncle Ivo who is eighty years old and speaks his mind. I’ve no doubt George will soon be learning even more Dutch and finally getting to do some sightseeing in Holland. B