Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Fifth Day of Christmas

"It hadn't taken Julia long to fall in love with Ivo van den Werff – but she had better fall out of love equally quickly, she decided, when she met Marcia Jason and realized just how much stronger a claim the other girl had on Ivo's affection."
That's the description on the back cover of THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, a 1971 Harlequin Romance by Betty Neels. I'm not sure what this book has to do with Christmas, but it appears that Ivo's got a small package (5 Golden Rings, perhaps?) and he's all ready to share it with our heroine, nurse Julia - not to be confused with the other nurse JULIA. The author Betty Neels, a retired nurse, wrote an astounding 134 novels between 1970 and 2001 (when she was well into her 90s) - with about a half-dozen published posthumously. Some intriguing titles include AMAZON IN APRON (1970), VICTORY FOR VICTORIA (1972), COBWEB MORNING (1976) and HILLTOP TRYST (1990). Her work lives on in a new 2008 Harlequin holiday collection, CHRISTMAS DREAMS.
Some of Nurse Betty's other holiday romance titles include ROSES FOR CHRISTMAS (1976), WINTER WEDDING (1980),  A CHRISTMAS WISH (1995), MISTLETOE KISS (1997), MISTLETOE MAGIC (2000), A CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL (2001), A CHRISTMAS ROMANCE (2001) and CHRISTMAS WISHES (2003). Who knew that there was such a niche market for Christmas-specific romance novels? I guess the tradition lives on in the slew of cheesy ABC Family, Lifetime and Hallmark Channel movies that we are bombarded with each December.

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