Title: Mistletoe at Moonglow
Author: Deborah Garner
Publisher: Cranberry Cove Press
Release Date: November 2015
Length: 152 pages
Series?: Paige MacKenzie Mysteries #2.5
The small, old western town of Timberton, Montana, has not been the same since resident chef and artist Mist brought her unique, new age flavor to the area. When guests arrive at the Timberton Hotel for the holidays, they bring worries, fears and broken hearts, unaware that Mist has a way of working magic in people’s lives. Will old-fashioned time spent together, exquisite food, conversation and a snowball or two offer guests a chance to trade sadness for hope? One thing is certain: no matter how cold winter’s grip is on each guest, no one leaves town without a warmer heart.
Mist is a phenomenal chef at the Timberton Hotel. She brings a magical touch to all things at the hotel and takes care of the guests well while working alongside her boss, Betty, whose boyfriend Clive often drops in. After losing her cafe, Betty welcomed her into the hotel and generously set up arrangements for Mist to continue her cooking.
Mist – an out-of-work cafe owner who now resides and works at the Timberton Hotel
Betty – owner of the Timberton Hotel; always doing things to please others and treat them like family
Clive – Betty’s boyfriend; owns his own gem gallery in town
Clara followed, smiling at Mist and apologizing for her casual dress. “I was just about to go to sleep when this young man knocked on my door and invited me to play a game of…I believe he called it “Stupid Fish.” She winked, which struck Mist as incredibly cute coming from an elderly woman.
“Are any of the fish smart, Robert?” Mist asked.
“Maybe,” Robert said, climbing into the chair knees first, an awkward technique typical for his age.
“Is this a secret recipe?”
“There are no secrets in my kitchen,” Mist said. “I believe in sharing food, including recipes, so everyone can enjoy it.”
The Highs and Lows
- Warmth. The entire town and makeup of the characters is all based on family and friendship. The kindness and thoughtfulness that exudes from so many of the characters, along with the delicious eats, just warms the soul. There were some heavy topics characters were facing, and Garner approached them with warmth and friendship.
- Predictable. With a minimalist plot, it was very predictable what would happen next with the different guests at the hotel. The humor and Mist and Betty’s treatment of them helped bring about a level of comfort, but there wasn’t much to speak of in the way of plot development.
- Humor and Honesty. If I can appreciate anything from a book, humor and honesty are two of the top things on my list. There was such an innocent and praiseworthy cast of characters with good intentions, and quite a dose of humor sprinkled throughout. It added to the warmth and camaraderie of the hotel staff and guests.
- Disappointment. I was disappointed to not get a lot of background knowledge on the primary cast of characters (Mist, Betty, and Clive) nor any real indication of what lies in their future. It wasn’t until I was done and looking around on Goodreads that I realized this was only a novella. No wonder I didn’t get enough for the plot! Still, it was a beautiful Christmas snapshot at the Timberton Hotel. I just wanted more.
- Mist. The thing I really liked about Mist, and perhaps the thing that made her seem a little ethereal, was the fact that she did not judge anyone. We all may struggle with this from time to time in our lives, but Mist seemed so perfect in this department. Instead of judging, she did all she could think of to improve the mood of others. She has a magical touch!
This is a novella in the middle of a series. While it can be read alone, I think I would have gotten more benefit out of it by reading the entire series. It’s still a cute and warming Christmas read.
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.