Review of MAYBE THIS TIME by Jennifer Crusie (see her website)
St. Martin's Press, August 2010
Andie Miller (Archer) simply wants to return her uncashed alimony checks, let her ex-husband know that she's re-marrying and then she'll get on with her life. Never mind that North Archer still sends her libido into palpitations. Steady Will Spenser is the man for her. But when North comes up with an offer to pay her big bucks for a little teaching, she can hardly turn him down. It isn't like he's proposing restarting their relationship or anything.
Andie heads down to take care of two children, just until she can find a way to bring them to Cincinatti without causing trauma for them. Of course she doesn't believe in haunted houses...still the imported English castle in southern Ohio has a severe creep factor.
Although the children appear difficult, it doesn't take long before the win Andie's heart. Winning their hearts takes a bit longer. And the longer she stays, the more Andie starts to wonder if perhaps her rational non-belief in ghosts just might be, well, wrong. When North's brother shows up with a TV reporter looking for a story, North heads down to sort things out, a ghost-hunter arrives hoping he'll actually be able to see a ghost, and the night turns dark and stormy, and steady Will demands that Andie come home with him right away, matters go into crisis mode.
Author Jennifer Crusie (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Crusie) can be depended on for a funny and well-written story populated by flakey but interesting characters and MAYBE THIS TIME is no exception. The paranormal element adds a nice touch to the gothic-style house and the gothic-style right man/wrong man combination. Of course, the reader is left little doubt about who the right man is. Still, Andie and North couldn't make their relationship work the first time... what's to say that it'll be different this time?
Both North and Andie are likable characters. Andie, in particular, is redeemed by her love for the children. Like many of Crusie's characters, she's a bit too flakey to be really believable (she apparently believes that North's sending of a monthly alimony check is some sort of ploy on his part to make her feel guilty rather than a lawyer following the court's orders). Still, this is a ghost story--believability is not a priority.
This isn't Crusie's best book, but it's an enjoyable beach read with some exciting and even emotional moments.
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