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Last edited by AgentSapphire
April 4, 2023 | History

Betty Neels

Betty Neels was born on September 15, 1910 in Devon to a family with firm roots in the civil service. She said she had a blissfully happy childhood and teenage years, which stood her in good stead for the tribulations to come with the Second World War. She was sent away to boarding school, and then went on to train as a nurse, gaining her SRN and SCM, that is, State Registered Nurse and State Certificate of Midwifery.

In 1939 she was called up to the Territorial Army Nursing Service, which later became the Queen Alexandra Reserves, and was sent to France with the Casualty Clearing Station. This comprised eight nursing sisters, including Betty, to 100 men! In other circumstances, she thought that might have been quite thrilling! When France was invaded in 1940, all the nursing sisters managed to escape in the charge of an army major, undertaking a lengthy and terrifying journey to Boulogne in an ambulance. They were incredibly fortunate to be put on the last hospital ship to be leaving the port of Boulogne. But Betty's war didn't end there, for she was posted to Scotland, and then on to Northern Ireland, where she met her Dutch husband. He was a seaman aboard a minesweeper, which was bombed. He survived and was sent to the south of Holland to guard the sluices. However, when they had to abandon their post, they were told to escape if they could, and along with a small number of other men, he marched into Belgium. They stole a ship and managed to get it across the Channel to Dover before being transferred to the Atlantic run on the convoys. Sadly he became ill, and that was when he was transferred to hospital in Northern Ireland, where he met Betty. They eventually married, and were blessed with a daughter. They were posted to London, but were bombed out. As with most of the population, they made the best of things.

When the war finally ended, she and her husband were repatriated to Holland. As his family had believed he had died when his ship went down, this was a very emotional homecoming. The small family lived in Holland for 13 years, and Betty resumed her nursing career there. When they decided to return to England, Betty continued her nursing and when she eventually retired she had reached the position of night superintendent.

Betty Neels began writing almost by accident. She had retired from nursing, but her inquiring mind had no intention of vegetating, and her new career was born when she heard a lady in her local library bemoaning the lack of good romance novels. There was little in Betty's background to suggest that she might eventually become a much-loved novelist.

Her first book, Sister Peters in Amsterdam, was published in 1969, and by dint of often writing four books a year, she eventually completed 134 books. She was always quite firm upon the point that the Dutch doctors who frequently appeared in her stories were not based upon her husband, but rather upon an amalgam of several of the doctors she met while nursing in Holland.

To her millions of fans around the world, Betty Neels epitomized romance. She was always amazed and touched that her books were so widely appreciated. She never sought plaudits and remained a very private person, but it made her very happy to know that she brought such pleasure to so many readers, while herself gaining a quiet joy from spinning her stories. It is perhaps a reflection of her upbringing in an earlier time that the men and women who peopled her stories have a kindliness and good manners, coupled to honesty and integrity, that is not always present in our modern world. Her myriad of fans found a warmth and a reassurance of a better world in her stories, along with characters who touched the heart, which is all and more than one could ask of a romance writer. She received a great deal of fan mail, and there was always a comment upon the fascinating places she visited in her stories. Quite often those of her fans fortunate enough to visit Holland did use her information as an itinerary for their travels!

Betty Neels died peacefully in hospital on June 7, 2001, aged 91. Her career with Mills & Boon and Harlequin spanned 30 years, and she continued to write into her 90th year.

British writer

Born 15 September 1910
Died 7 June 2001

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  • Cover of: A Girl in a Million
    First published in 1993 21 editions in 1 language — 4 previewable Cover of edition girlinmillio00neel Cover of edition girlinmillion00neel Cover of edition girlinmillion0000neel

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  • Cover of: Stars Through the Mist
    First published in 1957 18 editions in 1 language — 2 previewable Cover of edition starsthroughmist00neel

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  • Cover of: A Kiss for Julie
    First published in 1996 17 editions in 1 language — 1 previewable

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  • Cover of: The Fortunes of Francesca
    First published in 1997 16 editions in 1 language — 2 previewable Cover of edition fortunesoffrance00neel

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  • Cover of: The Moon for Lavinia
    First published in 1957 16 editions in 2 languages — 3 previewable Cover of edition moonforlavinia0000neel Cover of edition isbn_9780786284221

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  • Cover of: Fate Takes a Hand
    First published in 1995 15 editions in 1 language — 1 previewable

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  • Cover of: The Final Touch
    First published in 1991 15 editions in 1 language — 2 previewable Cover of edition finaltouch00neel

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  • Cover of: Waiting for Deborah
    First published in 1994 15 editions in 1 language — 3 previewable Cover of edition waitingfordebora00bett Cover of edition waitingfordebora0000neel

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  • Cover of: A Good Wife
    First published in 1999 15 editions in 1 language — 2 previewable Cover of edition goodwife00neel

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  • Cover of: The Silver Thaw
    First published in 1980 14 editions in 1 language — 2 previewable Cover of edition silverthaw0000neel

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  • Cover of: The Vicar's Daughter
    First published in 1996 14 editions in 1 language — 1 previewable

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  • Cover of: Emma's Wedding
    First published in 2001 14 editions in 1 language — 2 previewable Cover of edition emmaswedding0000neel

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  • Cover of: Only by Chance
    First published in 1996 14 editions in 1 language — 3 previewable Cover of edition onlybychance0000neel Cover of edition onlybychance0000neel_b4d9

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  • Cover of: The Convenient Wife (And the Winner Is)
    First published in 1990 14 editions in 1 language — 1 previewable

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  • Cover of: The Daughter of the Manor
    First published in 1997 14 editions in 1 language — 2 previewable Cover of edition daughterofmanor0000neel

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  • Cover of: The Awakened Heart
    First published in 1993 14 editions in 1 language — 3 previewable Cover of edition awakenedheart00neel_0 Cover of edition awakenedheart00neel

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  • Cover of: Marrying Mary
    First published in 1996 14 editions in 1 language — 5 previewable Cover of edition marryingmary0000neel_v1d8 Cover of edition marryingmary0000neel_u8u8 Cover of edition marryingmary0000neel Cover of edition marryingmary0000neel_b5h5

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  • Cover of: Roses for Christmas
    First published in 1957 14 editions in 1 language — 2 previewable Cover of edition rosesforchristma00neel

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  • Cover of: Discovering Daisy
    First published in 1999 14 editions in 1 language — 3 previewable Cover of edition isbn_9780263204605 Cover of edition discoveringdaisy00neel

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  • Cover of: All Else Confusion
    First published in 1957 14 editions in 1 language — 3 previewable Cover of edition allelseconfusion0000neel_k1j0 Cover of edition allelseconfusion0000neel

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British writer

Born 15 September 1910
Died 7 June 2001

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April 4, 2023 Edited by AgentSapphire merge authors
June 25, 2022 Edited by AgentSapphire merge authors
December 27, 2021 Edited by AgentSapphire merge authors
April 22, 2021 Edited by AgentSapphire merge authors
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import