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Monday, November 12, 2012

Mrs. Jingles by Vickie Britton & Loretta Jackson

Mrs. Jingles by Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (13 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Cassie humors her fragile sister, Mia, who is recovering from a nervous breakdown, by purchasing two Harlequin dolls at a local antique store. The two dolls, one light-haired and the other dark, are a matching pair—like sisters!

Sibling rivalries from childhood begin to surface, as well as jealousy over Jason, who has married Mia, but was once Cassie’s boyfriend. Cassie soon fears for her life when she receives a disturbing phone call in the eerie voice of Mrs. Jingles, her sister's doll. Is the toy bent on revenge for a sister scorned, or is Cassie about to encounter something even more sinister in the form of someone she's loved for years?

The best part about visiting antique shops is that no one ever really knows what they’ll find there. A one-of-a-kind treasure could be just around the corner. Of course not all surprises are good as the woman who spies two dolls sitting on a shelf is about to discover.

The relationship between Cassie and Mia was so well thought out. Like many adult siblings their bond has been strengthened over a lifetime of memories. Yet as much as they love one another sometimes old childhood rivalries cannot help but to creep into the present.

At first I was impatient to know the history of the dolls Mia purchased. Who knows how many other homes they’ve lived in or what they’ve witnessed? By the time I reached the climax, though, I was glad that this information wasn’t revealed. It leaves room for me to imagine my own prequels or sequels without bogging down the real plot.

Unfortunately this story’s portrayal of someone living with a mental illness left something to be desired. Mia’s exact diagnosis is never revealed but she is painted as an extremely emotionally fragile person who must be protected from the truth at any cost. As someone who has lived with mentally ill relatives I wish Mia could have been written in a less stereotypical manner. The reader learns a lot about her social and emotional dysfunctions but not very much about Mia the individual and I think the ending suffers because of it. Empathizing with someone who has only been described in some fairly negative ways isn’t easy after all.

After reading Mrs. Jingles I’ll never look at antique toys the same way. Why not give this book a try and see if it changes your opinion, too?

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