by Mary L. Briggs from the April 2, 2012 issue
Tagline: Janice had always loved Easter. Now, thanks to her romantic boyfriend, she loved it even more!
In a Nutshell: Janice's sister used to set up Easter egg scavenger hunts for her. After Janice shares this tidbit of info with her boyfriend, he surprises her with a modern-day hunt, but this time the prize isn't a chocolate bunny, it's a diamond ring!
Observations: I thought the premise of this story was wonderful. It's always fun to read about creative engagements. And the hunt that Dan sends her on was fun to experience as a reader. This is one of those cases where I think, "Why didn't I think of that????"
However, there were a couple of things that bothered me.
Of course, we readers are going to predict that Dan is going to set up an egg hunt for her. That's a given. (The twist turns out to be the ring, which did take me by surprise. :) ) However, after finishing the story, I thought back and wondered how far in advance Dan planned...
Here's the timeline: Janice tells Dan about her sister's tradition. In that same conversation, Dan reminds her he won't be around for Easter because of a business conference. Obviously, the idea for his own engagement ring egg hunt can't have come to him until after she tells him that story. That makes me wonder if he decided then and there to pop the question via the egg or already had the ring and was looking for a way to give it to her. Not a big deal, really, but my question never gets answered and I wish it had. (Standard disclaimer: this is all just my opinion, which often and unpredictably differs with those of the magazine editors.)
The other thing that bothered me was the fact that he doesn't actually ask her to marry him at all. It's a given. He just slips the ring on, no questions--or question, singular--asked. I think Briggs missed out on a big opportunity to bring this story from Cuteland to the World of Poignant Sighs. If she'd spent less time on the history of sister Elle's tradition and more on the proposal itself, I would have been a much happier camper. A marriage proposal is, in my opinion, a momentous, life changing event, and even in fiction--or perhaps especially in fiction--the emotions need to be there.
But you know what? It all boils down to author choice. There's absolutely nothing wrong with writing a cute story that doesn't pull on your heart strings.
Note: If you like the eggs in the picture, here's a link that shows you how to make them.