Cassandra By Chance - Betty Neels 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 the classic "thorn in his paw" man, the temporarily blinded Benedict, and the devoted but spirited heroine, Cassandra; I got a lot of [b:Jane Eyre|10210|Jane Eyre|Charlotte Brontë||2977639] vibes, too. Unfortunately, the second half of the book literally and figuratively leaves that behind, when Cassandra travels to Holland to be Benedict's nurse. It just goes into standard old-fashioned romance territory, with Benedict playing games for no plausible reason and Cassandra insisted on believing he's in love with someone else in the face of all evidence to the contrary. (Benedict's apt comment, "a worse case of putting two and two together and making five I have yet to meet.") The pitying point of view about disabilities is also very dated, though mad props for including a character who's a Polish concentration camp survivor -- that's something you don't see in romance every day. So I was left feeling kind of disappointed, but remembering how delightful the first half of the book was, I'll definitely try crossing that bridge again.