cover image Griselda Takes Flight

Griselda Takes Flight

Joyce Magnin, Abingdon, $14.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4267-1157-2

In book three of the Bright's Pond series, Magnin gives Griselda Sparrow, sister of the physically large and pious titular character of The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, center stage. As Griselda explores new personal freedom, with Agnes being cared for in a nursing home, an unfolding mystery dominates the town gossip. The country bumpkin language ("gee whilakers") returns to the scene, along with character names fit for a Roald Dahl tale ("Mildred Blessing"). Balancing kitschy fun with sober reality, Magnin tackles many adult themes throughout the novel: a caregiver's resentment, questions of fidelity, etc. Yet the playful style stands in the way of deeper character development; readers are taken through endless tales of pumpkin patches and treasure hunts that interrupt a more meaningful tale of a struggle for independence. Readers seeking an escape to a land where neighbors still wander into each other's kitchens will enjoy the "aw shucks" attitude and surprise ending. (Apr.)