Authors Like Betty Neels (20 Book Recommendations)

Betty Neels is a prolific author of romance novels. Throughout her career, Neels wrote over 134 publications.

She began writing novels in 1969 and continued until she was 90 years old. 

Authors Like Betty Neels (20 Book Recommendations)

Betty Neels was born in Leyton, Greater London, and grew up in Devonshire. Before becoming a novelist at the age of 60, Neels was a state-registered nurse (SRN) and a state-certified midwife (SCM). 

In 1939, she joined the Territorial Army Nursing Services and helped out during the first world war.  

Betty Neels’ first novel Sister Peters in Amsterdam was published by Mills & Boon in 1969, it was later published in North America by Harlequin. 

Throughout her 30-year career as a novelist, Betty Neels wrote 124 standalone novels and two book series.  

A few of Neels’ books have been republished under different titles including Amazon in an Apron which is now known as A Match for Sister Maggie

Her novels Blow Hot, Blow Cold, and Tempestuous April, are now known as Surgeon from Holland and Nurse Harriet goes to Holland respectively. 

Many of Neels’ books are set in Holland or feature Dutch heroes and male characters. 

This is because Neels’ husband was Dutch and she spent 13 years living in Holland with her family.  

Betty Neels’ books have been highly popular since she began writing and publishing novels.

They have remained popular since her death in 2001. 

Some of Neels’ most popular novels include Roses Have Thorns, a classic enemies-to-lovers story, and Caroline’s Waterloo, a traditional romance novel with a strong female protagonist driven by love.  

If you have read and loved some of Betty Neels’ classic and iconic romance novels and are looking for something similarly extraordinary to read, then immersive romance novelists such as Emma Darcy, and Mary Burchell should be on your to-be-read list. 

Books By Betty Neels

Books By Betty Neels

Betty Neels wrote over 100 standalone romance novels and 2 book series during her 30-year career. 

The first series that Neels wrote was The Final Touch series, which is made up of The Final Touch, and A Happy Meeting. 

This series features classic romance stories that include unrequited love, spunky heroines, and the suggestion of true love.  


The second series that Neels wrote was the Dr. Fforde series which is made up of Always and Forever, and The Doctor’s Girl

The two books in this series are the last two novels that Neels would write before her death with The Doctor’s Girl being published the year that Neels died.  

We have already mentioned some of the most popular standalone romance novels by Neels. 

Some other well-liked Neels novels that have received strong reviews from readers include A Christmas Romance, a novel about a love story that blossoms on Christmas Eve when the two worlds of Theodosia Chapman and Dr. Hugo Bentinck collide in a chance of fate. 

Damsel in Green (The Best of Betty Neels)

Readers also enjoy Damsel in Green, a story that focuses on the unrequited love of nurse Georgina Rodman towards the father of the children that she is looking after. 

This novel in particular makes readers feel that they could be reading an authentic story from Neels’ life. 

One of the most highly rated of Neels’ books is A Star Looks Down, another story of unrequited love in a situation that cannot easily be escaped. 

This particular story from Neels feels like a borderline tragedy rather than a simple romance novel.  

Themes In Betty Neels’ Books

There are a few themes that are explored throughout the majority of Betty Neels’ novels. 

The obvious overarching theme of her stories is romance, however, there are more nuanced themes that are also present. 

Blossoming Love

One of the most common recurring themes in Neels’ novels is the blossoming of love. 

The male and female protagonists in Neels’ romance novels generally meet for the first time before romance has begun to spark. 

Some might say that Betty Neels is a pioneer of meet-cute stories.  The process of characters falling in love is a huge part of Neels’ stories. 

Recurring Heroine Physique

The female protagonist or heroine in Neels’ novels is likely to look one of two ways. 

Either the main female character will be a Cinderella type that requires rescuing from a dire situation, or she will have a splendid build and be queen-sized and voluptuous.  

Similar Male Protagonists

The male protagonists in Neels’ novels are generally very similar.  They are likely to be Dutch in origin, often they are a surgeon or physician. 

Some readers and long-time admirers of Neels have speculated that the male protagonists in the novels are based on Neels’ real-life Dutch husband. 

Family Settings

There are also often strong themes of family in Betty Neels’ novels. 

The presence of family themes can be adjacent to the story, helping to set the scene for the romance, or it can play a significant role in the plot and be the source of conflict for the central characters. 

Authors Like Betty Neels

There are many romance novelists that write similarly to Betty Neels. 

However, there is only a handful that really captures the same emotions and storytelling as Neels.  Below are three authors whose work is similar to Neels. 

Emma Darcy

Tangle of torment

Emma Darcy is a pseudonym that is used by the husband-wife writing team of Wendy Brennan and Frank Brennan. 

This Australian couple wrote over 45 romance novels collaboratively. 

The duo wrote together and published books between 1983 and 1995 which is when Frank passed away. 

Between 1983 and 2001 over 60 million books were sold under the Darcy pseudonym.  

While working as a writing duo, Emma Darcy wrote and published 45 standalone romance novels.  They averaged six new books per year. 

The first book that was published by Emma Darcy was Tangle of Torment in 1983.  This is the story of Dan and Maggie, navigating opposing feelings towards each other while dealing with engagements with other people. 

The content gets a bit heavy at times which can be a bit jarring for some seasoned romance readers.  

Three years later, in 1986, Darcy published Don’t Ask Me Now.  This is another romance based on the premise of a love triangle. 

This time, the content of the book is less heavy and the hero of the story isn’t revealed until quite far into the novel. 

It is the twists and turns of the plot, the two potential male protagonists, and the fact that the heroine gets to choose that made this book so unique for its time. 

One of the most intriguing things about Emma Darcy’s romance novels is that they are significantly different from other romance novels. 

The differences can come in the form of the setting, the heroes and heroine, or even the subject. 

Some examples of this include Whirlpool of Passion which is a romance novel that includes kidnapping and trying to help a friend escape an arranged marriage. 

The One That Got Away is a romance novel that is set during a fishing trip and contains a plethora of fishing talk. 

This novel also contains themes of emotional and verbal abuse. 

Finally, One-Woman Crusade is a romance novel that features an extremely headstrong heroine and lots of banter alongside the romance. 


  • Unusual plots, not afraid to stray from typical romance tropes
  • Creates complex characters
  • Advanced plots and characters for publication time


  • Often contains some heavy topics including emotional abuse 

Themes: romance, passion, society, female power and autonomy, scandal, strong female leads. 

Mary Burchell

A Song Begins (Warrender Saga Book 1)

Mary Burchell is the pseudonym under which Ida Cook wrote romance novels.  Mary Burchell wrote 112 romance novels for Mills & Boon between 1936 and 1985. 

Many of the books that were published for Mills & Boon have since been republished by Harlequin for North American audiences.  

The Warrender saga is Burchell’s most famous series of novels.  The series comprises 13 novels set in the opera and concert-hall world. 

The novels mention various famous operas.  For example, the first novel A Song Begins refers to Othello

The fourth book from the series The Curtain Rises refers to The Magic Flute opera.  The eleventh book in the saga Nightingales refers to Mendelssohn’s Elijah

Burchell also wrote 99 standalone romance novels during her career. 

One of the earliest novels that she wrote was With All My Worldly Goods, This is a romance novel that is very fast-paced and has scandal and plot twists galore. 

Her later works are much more well-rounded, such as A Home For Joy.  This novel is a gentle read with a spirited and likable heroine, a handsome hero, and a family crisis.  


  • Familiar romance novel tropes and plot lines
  • In-depth saga with underpinned themes.  
  • Relatable characters in later works


  • Early works feel rushed and not relatable

Themes: romance, lovers, scandal, mystery, sacrifice, opera, concert hall, strong female leads

Final Thoughts

Betty Neels is a prolific romance novelist that produced well over 100 novels in her lifetime. 

She was a pioneer in the realm of meet-cute stories with plots that were incredibly well-thought-out and well-paced. 

Her romance novels were so beautifully crafted and written that fans of her work often seek out similar authors. 

If you have enjoyed Betty Neels’ romance novels, you will enjoy the works of Emma Darcy and Mary Burchell too. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Main Themes Of Betty Neels’ Novels?

The main themes of Betty Neels’ novels are romance, blossoming love, family dynamics, respectable male protagonists, and strong, imposing female characters. 

What Authors Are Similar To Betty Neels?

Both Emma Darcy and Mary Burchell produce works that are very similar to Betty Neels.  If you are looking for similar novels, these authors are a good starting point.

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Anna Davis