I love anything by Jennifer Crusie. The novels with Bob Mayer, Don’t Look Down, Agnes and the Hit Man and Wild Ride, were great. The novels she writes alone have always been wonderful with snappy dialogue, ingenious plots, things acting as main characters as opposed to humans (remember the water tower in Welcome to Temptation?). But St. Martin’s Press just sent me an advance reading copy of her newest book, Maybe This Time. Wow! I’ve fallen in love all over again.
This is the story of Andromeda and North, the free spirit and the lawyer. Sounds a little like Dharma and Greg, doesn’t it? Well I would have watched Dharma and Greg a lot more if they had been anything like Andie and North! Ms. Crusie uses some of the plot elements from Wild Ride, haunting, possessions, but this one isn’t set in an amusement park but an old crumbling mansion in Southern Ohio. Kind of the House of Usher in the suburbs of Colombus.
There are kids, Alice and Carter, precocious, lost, needy and seemingly at risk from creepy ghosts, although I think these kids could hold their own against even The Mummy! There is an aunt dead before her time dancing in the moonlight. There are several other ghosts who have just hung around because they can’t seem to find their way out. And then there’s the housekeeper, a sinister character if ever there was one! Enter Andromeda (Andie).
North, the lawyer, has asked Andie, his ex-wife of 10 years, to act as teacher and companion for the kids (his orphaned cousins). Well, even after 10 years of being the Ex Mrs. Archer, Andie can’t seem to leave Mr. Archer behind (and vice versa), so she takes the job over her fiancé’s objections. Andie realizes the minute she enters the creepy mansion (actually before when she almost looses the undercarriage of her car on the driveway) that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. But she’s determined to show North Archer that she’s not a flighty hippy anymore, but a responsible grown-up sedate woman who can be trusted with taking care of unruly children. Now enter North’s brother, Southie (actually Sullivan, but Andie pinned the nickname on him years ago), his current girlfriend, a disgraced journalist just looking for a story, a parapsychologist who doesn’t believe in ghosts, a psychic brought in for a séance, Andie’s former fiancé who can’t take no for an answer, Andie’s mother who just wants to help in her “Earth Mother” way, Andie’s mother-in-law who’s been the bane of Andie’s existence since she married North and of course North, the soul of reason in this haunted nut house.
This has got to be one of the most inventive plots I’ve ever read! And the ending…or endings, there are quite a few…they’re marvelous! You HAVE to read this book. Even if you turn your nose up at Romance…you HAVE to read this book!!!