My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you have read any of Jennifer Crusie’s other books – such as Welcome to Temptation or Fast Women – you know that she’s famous for writing about a cast of crazy characters with laugh out-loud humor. Her latest offering, Maybe This Time, provides both those things but a whole lot more that devoted Crusie fans will also find interesting.
Different Jennifer Crusie Book
Whereas Crusie usually dives right in with a handsome leading man and a smart but lost leading lady who then find love, Maybe This Time is about a divorced couple who have already had love and lost each other along the way. Andromeda (Andie) Miller is passionate about many things; teaching is one of them. North Archer is a determined lawyer managing the family practice in Columbus, Ohio. After divorcing ten years ago, Andie is ready to start a new life with a new man; not North. However when she returns to Columbus to tie up some loose ends of her first marriage, North convinces Andie to help him with the orphaned children of his relative who left him as their guardian, while postponing her new life with her new husband.
Now, I’m usually not a big fan of romance books with kids in them – that’s just my preference not anything against kids in general, so having giggled my way through several of Crusie’s other novels, I was willing to put aside my normal preferences to see what spin she’d put on a tale of two orphans. I discovered that through the two somewhat lost and sometimes scary children Andie learns more about herself and therefore is perhaps truly ready now to face life and love. The slow build up to the romance story is what makes this novel different from other Crusie romance novels and what makes the romance and humor a reward for the reader.
This first half of this story is an interesting mystery story involving Andie and the children. I promise you, like a good wine this book is worth savoring. Don’t race through the relationship building that endures with the children, Carter and Alice Archer.
What is so unique about these siblings? Mostly it is their devotion to each other and the creepy — and reportedly haunted house– that they reside in. Since the kids have gone through nannies right and left, Andie – along with us readers – must decide if it is really the kids or the house that’s scaring off all the adults. Strange things are definitely happening at Archer House set in the wilds of southern Ohio. It is up to Andie to help Carter and Alice and figure out what exactly is going on in their old house.
Romance and Humor
The problem with North sending his ex-wife to look after children that are supposed to be his responsibility is that wives – even ex-wives – have a way of making a man take responsibility for things he might not be ready to take on. All North wants is for the children to be cared for and to convince them to move to Columbus where he can hire a permanent nanny to watch them so he can continue with his work. However, the longer that Andie spends with the children and the more that North learns about the children and their current home, the less work North is getting done. Enter the mixture of characters that Crusie fans expect: Andie’s tarot card reading mother, North’s uptight mother, North’s playboy brother with his TV news reporter girlfriend and suddenly things are getting very complicated. And, well funny!
While Maybe This Time is a romance, it is set inside a good mystery slash ghost story. And Ohio is famous for its ghost stories! The Midwest is filled with old homes and history so readers get the feeling that Crusie has put in some hours of honest research. This one is certainly worth reading whether you are looking for romance or want to find out what goes bump in the night.
- Crusie, Jennifer; Maybe This Time, St. Martin’s Press, August 31, 2010, ISBN-13: 978-0312303785
- Jennifer Crusie official website