Thursday, October 14, 2010

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

Posted by Simcha 6:35 PM, under | 4 comments

Andie Miller is ready to move on with her life. She wants to marry her fiancé and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her. A distant cousin has died and left North the guardian of two orphans who have driven away three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs someone to take care of the situation, and he knows Andie can handle anything....

When Andie meets the two children, she realizes the situation is much worse than she feared. Carter and Alice aren’t your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. Complicating matters is Andie’s fiancé’s suspicion that this is all a plan by North to get Andie back. He may be right because Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that’s not the only haunting....

Then her ex-brother-in-law arrives with a duplicitous journalist and a self-doubting parapsychologist, closely followed by an annoyed medium, Andie’s tarot card–reading mother, her avenging ex-mother-in-law, and her jealous fiancé. Just when Andie’s sure things couldn’t get more complicated, North arrives to make her wonder if maybe this time things could just turn out differently....

Jennifer Crusie is one of the few romance authors whose books I regularly read. When I recently discovered that Crusie had a new book out in August I was eager to get a hold of it. Unfortunately, though, Maybe This Time ended up being a big disappointment, and wasn't nearly as enjoyable and entertaining as Crusie's previous books.

I must admit that part of the problem had to do with my personal disinterest in ghost stories. I've read several other books with similar themes this past year, including Hell Fire by
Anne Aguirre and Ghost Light by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and I didn't really enjoy either of those books either. It's just that stories about ghosts and haunted houses don't do anything for me. On the other hand, I really liked Sophia Kinsella's Twenties Girl, which had involved a ghost, so I figured that Crusie's fun writing style might similarly spice up the ghost themed plot in Maybe This Time. But this wasn't the case.

Two orphaned children in a haunted house with a creepy housekeeper and a lovely governess, hired by the children's distant guardian. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Yes, I'm sure you've read similar books before, including, too, the dark and stormy night in which events come to a head.

In addition to the uninspired plot, Maybe This Time just didn't charm me the way all of Crusie's other books had. Other than Andie's wacky, fortune telling mother, the characters weren't as fun and quirky as in her other books and the romance felt flat to me. We barely even get to know the two male characters battling for Andie's affection, since they remain off-stage for most of the book.

I was actually pretty irritated with the romantic plot of the story and the way Andie casually dumps her wonderful, loving boyfriend, who she was about to get engaged to, to go back to her ex-husband, who she hasn't seen in ten years. But apparently unbridled lust is a good enough reason to dump your almost-fiance and hook up (aka, fall-in-love) with a man you already divorced once. And then the story weakly attempts to make Andie's boyfriend come across as a jerk, by having him do something stupid, so that the reader will feel Andie is justified in her callous behavior towards him. This just annoyed me even more.

There were a few interesting moments in the book and I trudged on just to see how some of the threads would be tied up, but as a whole I found the book pretty disappointing; not at all what I have come to expect from Jennifer Crusie.

I have to admit that if you enjoy ghost stories than you will probably find Maybe This Time more appealing than I did but I doubt you will get any more enjoyment than I did out of the feeble romantic plot.


I've never read Jennifer Cruise, but maybe I should check her out. Just not this one.
It's funny, in the beginning, when you were saying how you don't like ghost stories, my reaction was "What about 20s Girl?!?" So I'm glad you liked that one. :-)
Anyhow, thanks for the warning about this book.

Thanks for the review! I've been interested about this one & too bad it's not that good.

I liked a couple of Crusie books, another was more bleh, but then I do like chick-lit

Audrey: I haven't been that impressed with Crusie's newer books but you should definitely try her older ones. Two of my favorites by her are Bet Me and Faking It.

Aleksandra: And my opinion it's definitely not as good as the other ones of hers that I liked. You might want to get it from the library, but I wouldn't recommend buying it.

BlodeueddP: I went through a romance/chic lit stage and Crusie's books were my favorite. The ones I particularly liked were Bet Me, Faking It, Crazy for You and Charlie all Night. But I don't like her newer stuff as much. I got Agnes and the Hitman and after a few chapters I stopped reading. A real shame.

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