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Cassandra By Chance
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Cassandra By Chance

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  397 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Benedict van Manfeld was one of the surliest, most unfriendly men Cassandra had ever met! But when she learned he was a brilliant Dutch surgeon who had severely damaged his sight in an accident, her attitude changed. Benedict asked Cassandra to go to Holland with him as his nurse. She agreed…and soon began to feel something deeper than sympathy for him. But with his close ...more
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published April 16th 2012 by Harlequin Special Releases (April 16, 2012) (first published January 1st 1973)
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4.5 stars. Wow. Betty Neels really stepped outside her box for this one. I loved it!!

---First off, the hero is...blind. And very much a grizzly bear. (But he is a doctor)

---The heroine is NOT ordinary looking. She's hot. Smoking! And what else, with a name like Cassandra Darling. No Ermentrudes here! (But she is a nurse)

---The setting is...Scotland, on the island of Mull. (But halfway through, we move to Betty-land Holland).

---The manservant butler experienced an actual historical war horror. I
Feb 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: romance fans who love British novels
Recommended to willaful by: Liz Mc2
For some reason, I've always thought of Betty Neels in the same "a bridge too far" category as Barbara Cartland. But since two of my favorite book buddies really like her, I decided to give her a try.

Like them, I was charmed by the old-fashioned "Englishness" of the book… it was like reading one of the British favorites of my childhood with added romance, what could be nicer? Quiet, dry wit, teatime and puddings, a plain, sensible heroine who speaks her mind. The central relationship is between
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The heroine meets the “ogre” while she’s staying for a month with her niece and nephew during their parents' vacation. Pollyanna-ish, she feels sorry for the grouchy man, rendered temporarily blind, that she ingratiates herself by bringing cakes and reading to him. He asks her to accompany him back to Holland for a corrective surgery as his nurse and she agrees.

What I liked about the heroine is that she’s not mealy-mouthed and not given to baby him for his injury.

What is unusual about this her
Barb in Maryland
Dec 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
As several other reviewers have pointed out--this is really two books. The first half, set on the island of Mull, Scotland is just marvelous. Cassandra Darling, a nurse between jobs, is babysitting her sister's children while sister and hubby go on vacation. The kids tell her all about the ogre who lives nearby. Well, Cassandra, tender heart that she is, goes visiting, bearing cake and discovers a very cranky doctor who is temporarily blind. And they proceed to strike sparks off each other--just ...more
Possibly my favorite Neels. Cassandra and Benedict have a great chemistry and relationship, and that is why I forgive a lot of sins in this book, there are quite a few plot threads that are silly and don't go anywhere (and in the case of Jan, may actually contradict themselves). I am very forgiving of a book that makes many mistakes provided that you are so invested or enthralled in the story that you don't notice the mistakes until long afterward.

The only thing that does bother me is that Cass
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
4 Stars ~ Cassandra's on a break in her nurses training; having recently achieved her qualifications, she's chosen to train further as a midwife. She travels to Scotland where she is going to look after her niece and nephew while her sister and brother-in-law take an extended holiday in Greece. It's a small Scottish island where all the towns people know each other very well and gossip is very active. Cassandra learns from the children that there is an ogre living in a cottage in the hills, he i ...more
Pamela Shropshire
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tgb
Cassandra Darling is a newly qualified nurse who has agreed to care for her sister's children while her sister and brother-in-law, Rachel and Tom, go on holiday. Rachel and Tom live on the Isle of Mull, "on the south-west side" in a village with a church. (This means it's probably either Craignure or Lochbuie.)

Anyway, Cassandra settles in and the children tell her about a cottage where an "ogre" lives. It turns out the ogre is Benedict van Manfeld, a Dutch ear, nose and throat specialist who rec
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was another one that I couldn't put down. (There ought to be a law against that!) The story involves Cassandra, a girl who is ready to take the test to get her nursing degree, and a renowned surgeon who has gone blind, named Benedict van Manfeld.
Cassandra agrees to watch her niece and nephew while her sister and her husband, a prolific author, take a six week holiday. She's happy to leave crowded London and come to their small town and stay with her beloved sister's children on the small i
Fiona Marsden
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story and if we hadn't dropped into Other Woman mode which seems to involve the heroine becoming TSTL and falling apart I might have given this a fiver.

Cassandra is a practical, average looking girl having just finished her nursing training. While babysitting her sister's children she meets the ogre who is living in a cottage in Scotland while his eye injury heals. It was rather cute that the children called the cottage Ogres Relish because they overheard someone saying he
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely one of my favorite Betty Neels book.

Cassandra believed she wasn't pretty after being rejected by a registrar at the hospital. She goes to Scotland to care for her niece and nephew while her sister and brother-in-law go on a six week vacation . Cassandra feels sorry for the man in the cottage the children have told her about . She finds out he is blind and after several meetings they become friends and she helps him by reading medical journals to him . The children adore him and his ma
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I indeed love the first half of this book too. The needy Doc was a little way away from other Ms Neels hero, even though he's a doctor. But as opposed to the general rule of the damsel in distress heroine of BN novels, I love that Benedict Van Manfield (the Ogre)was the one in distress and our dear Cassandra was as feisty as can be, especially on the Island. The other half wasn't as compelling, it went back to the typical BN prose, but having said that, I'm still a sucker for anything BN
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love how this book shows a proper ending with Benedict and Cassandra returning to her home and getting married. Betty Neels stories frequently end with the reader not really seeing th happily ever after. This story is kind of fun because Cassandra never backs down from Benedict. Here the leading man meets his match.
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very nice read. Since it was written in 1973, WW2 sheds a darker shadow over the culture and time period than it does today, and she touched on that lightly, but not in too dark a way. (view spoiler) Good ending.
Tonya Warner
Cassandra journeys to Ogre's Relish to face the ogre head on. Benedict had been blinded in an accident putting his work as a surgeon in to jeopardy. Bad-tempered and ornery, he met his match in the loving care Cassandra provides.

An excellent story.
Cup a tea
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just what I expected--- comfy and cozy.
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has moved to the top of my Betty Neels list as most favorite.
Susan Vance
nice calm steady read
Aug 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet simple romance. Fast evening read. First half of book was particularly good. 2nd half your standard Betty Neels.
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very nice. Classic Betty Neels.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk-food
I thought I'd read most of Betty Neels' catalogue years ago, but certainly not this one! And it might be one of my favorites. Plot-wise, the first half is very strong, as other readers note. The interplay of angry surgeon, exuberant children, tender-hearted aunt and awkward minister works really well. Some stories set in fairly small, remote villages can feel faintly claustrophobic, but this one hums with life.

In a strange way, the second half seems hampered perhaps most by the growing (and unu
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Neels' fans
Cassandra is informed by her niece and nephew that an ogre lives up the hill. It turns out that a brilliant Dutch surgeon who is damaged his sight. He asks her to go with him to Holland as his nurse. Will he recover his sight and recognize his need for Cassandra?

Maybe more of a 3.5, but I enjoyed the characters.
I guess I’m just going to have to accept that I will never understand what Betty Neels’ fans see in her writing. I’ve read two or three of her books now, and I have yet to enjoy one. They all seem to have the same formula: large, irascible, rich, Dutch hero—usually a doctor—meets small, unattractive, poor, English heroine—usually a nurse—and tepid, mismatched romance ensues. There’s little characterization, little basis for the romance, and not much plot beyond medical details.

In this book, the
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance-read
One of the first Harlequin authors I remember reading. I was completely enthralled by the exotic locales in her book when I was 14. Now reading these books are more of a way of remembering the aunt who got me started on them. I'll probably always love them due to the nostalgia factor. her books will always be some of my favorites to re-read.
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the Scotland half, but I couldn't get into the Holland half and wound up skimming the last 25% of the book. Cassandra was likable but a bit bland. Benedict was unnecessarily rude.

I plan to read a few more of her novels before making a concrete judgment on her writing skills, but alas, I was not impressed with my first Betty Neels.
Beth Ruck
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite Betty Neels books.
If you want to read any of her books, read this one!
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely book, as always. :)
Mary Deakin
rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2017
Patty Cotton
rated it really liked it
Jun 03, 2013
rated it really liked it
Mar 19, 2014
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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.(This stood her in good stead later 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 Stat ...more
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