Blame it on the Mistletoe is the fourth installment of Joyce Magnin’s Bright’s Pond series. When residents of the local nursing home begin to act strangely, riding tricycles down hallways and falling in love in their late nineties, Griselda Sparrow observes as Police Chief Mildred Blessings investigates the strange happenings. Meanwhile, Sparrow deals with her own romantic controversy, caught between a man whom she last dated in high school and an exciting pilot teaching her how to fly.
Magnin writes in a wacky, humorous tone, with short interludes of serious conflict. Griselda struggles with the guilt of leaving her morbidly overweight sister, Agnes, in the nursing home to control her weight, and she displays almost unbearable immaturity regarding her relationships.
Griselda is a middle-aged woman living in an absurd, high school fantasy. She deals with lingering feelings for Zeb Sewickey, her on-again, off-again high school sweetheart, whom she refuses to marry, and Cliff Cardwell, a pilot giving her regular flying lessons. When investigating Greenbrier Nursing Home, Chief Blessings suspects sinister dealings like drugs, but Griselda offers a strange alternative solution: the fountain of youth. All the while, the characters anticipate a Hawaiian-themed Thanksgiving, a Christmas pageant, and a wedding.
Griselda is a relatable character for most women, though her constant indecision about whether to marry her long-time lover or to abandon the comfortable life and embark on a new relationship becomes annoying. Regardless of her frustrating behavior, readers also become torn between the poor, love-struck Zeb and the charming, exhilarating Cliff. In all of Griselda’s indecision, she forgets to turn to God for guidance in her choices. Proverbs 3:5 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight.” Had Griselda trusted God’s path for her, she would have saved herself a lot of time. Readers are also wrapped up in the mystery around the nursing home and yearn for an explanation, whether it is drugs or the mythical fountain of youth come alive in Greenbrier Nursing Home.
Blame it on the Mistletoe is a fun story, though quite silly at times, but it’s an entertaining book for the holiday season. No doubt, Bright’s Pond fans will not be disappointed in their favorite quirky characters. Those new to the series will enjoy Magnin’s offbeat humor and the strange individuals who reside in Bright’s Pond. The tale provides inspiration for middle-aged women to the elderly who want a chance to be young again. – Alli Russell, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Is There Really a Fountain of Youth in Paradise?
Welcome back to Bright 's Pond, where strange happenings are afoot at the Greenbrier Nursing Home. Strange even for Bright 's Pond. The residents suddenly act like kids again riding trikes, climbing trees, and of all things falling in love. Some of the townsfolk blame it on the crooked new gazebo, or its builder, a quirky little man who quotes Don Quixote, collects water from the fountain at the Paradise trailer park, and disappears on a regular basis.
While Chief of Police Mildred Blessing investigates the mystery, Griselda and her friends deal with a luau Thanksgiving, preparations for the Christmas pageant, and maybe even an upcoming wedding. Only, in Bright 's Pond, nothing ever really goes as planned . . .