Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie
August 31, 2010
Hardcover, 352 Pages
St. Martin’s Press
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I think if your ex-wife comes to your room in the middle of the night, throws up on your feet, and tells you she’s possessed, the absolute minimum she has to say when she leaves is, Thank you for being so kind.”
Andie Miller just wants to marry her fiancé and get on with her life. But her ex husband needs just one tiny favor from her. He has “inherited” two children and needs some serious help. The third nanny has flown the coop and he needs someone to go down there and find out what’s going on. Once Andie gets down there she realizes this is more then one tiny favor. The kids are a bit odd, the house is a wreck, and the housekeeper is creepy. Andie’s fiancé thinks this is all a ploy by her ex to get her back.
As Andie tries to save the kids and deal with a house full of craziness, she thinks he may be right.
In Jennifer Crusie’s first solo book out in six years, Maybe This Time, we are treated to the classic Crusie style with a delicious twist. A snarky paranormal romance suspense that had me hooked and laughing from page one.
Andie Miller approaches her ex husband North Archer to return her alimony checks. 10 years worth. She wants a fresh start with her fiancé and feels that returning the checks will give her that. Instead of just accepting the checks back, North asks a favor. He needs someone to go check on his young cousins. He was made their guardian after their parents died but all his nannies keep quitting. He feels Andie is the only one who can reach these kids. He also offers her $10,000 for a month of her time. $10,000 would get Andie out of debt so she agrees. Once she arrives at the house, she realizes that things are very wrong here. As Andie attempts to befriend the kids and deal with the multiple personalities of the housekeeper; she is dismayed to find that ghosts are real and want her out of their house. Dead or alive.
In a comedic loose rendition of Harry Jame’s Turn Of The Screw, Andie is besieged by bored psychics, ghost debunkers, annoying reporters, and eccentric family members. And when her ex-husband and her current fiance show up at the house, Andie needs to make a decision concerning her life and her priorities.
Andie is a deliciously snarky heroine. Between the screaming kids and spooky ghosts, Andie manages to keep her sanity one cup of spiked tea at a time. As with all of Crusie’s heroines, they only take so much before mouth over takes brain and the one liners start flying. Andie’s strong personality and take charge manner makes for some heartfelt and funny scenes.
You don’t see a lot of North till the end- but you hear him. He is a steadfast rock who took over the family business and kept it a float. I enjoyed hearing his feelings and POV of what happened. He also has a snarky streak through him which delighted me.
He and Andie are not together but stay in contact by phone. North never stopped loving Andie. Her happiness meant the world to him so when she said she was unhappy, he let her go. Now he is beginning to realize that he made a mistake and decides to fight for her. Even though you don’t get a whole book of romantic scenes…the brief ones they have are emotionally impacting.
“I lost your scent first. I kept your pillowcase unwashed for three weeks then Lydia sent it to the cleaners and it was gone. It’s hard to remember scent. I kept your voice longer. At least a year. But it was a tape and it didn’t sound quite right and I lost your voice.”
“I never lost your face.”
Their chemistry is strong and believable. You get a lot of flashbacks about how much passion and heat was in their marriage. Even though there is hardly any actual physical relations in the book-it doesn’t take away from the story.
As Andie and North try to discover what is going on and how to get the kids out of there, we are introduced to the spooky aspect of the story. It isn’t all fun and games. These ghosts are playing for keeps and are eliminating those who try to thwart them. I know some reviewers felt that Crusie went too far on the paranormal aspect and not enough the romance but I have to respectfully disagree. I found it had a healthy balance and provided a interesting mystery.
The secondary characters are full of life and personality. The kids, Carter and Alice tug hard at your heart strings. Andie’s relationship with them progresses slowly but in a believable fashion. North and Andie’s family all come out of the woodwork to offer opinions,suggestions, and off the wall behavior. It was a treat getting to know the other characters. Each has some ulterior motive and it fleshes out well in the story. Even the ghosts provided some stimulating reading.
I have to say that I was impressed and thrilled to see Ms. Crusie writing solo again and taking her stories to a whole new level. I look forward to reading more from her.
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