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MAYBE THIS TIME by Jennifer Crusie

MAYBE THIS TIME

By Jennifer Crusie

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-30378-5
Publisher: St. Martin's

Crusie (Agnes and the Hitman, 2007, etc.) returns with a romantic comedy cum ghost story with facetious nods to Henry James and Daphne du Maurier.                

Ten years ago Andie met, married and divorced love of her life North because he put his Columbus, Ohio, law career ahead of their marriage. Now that she’s engaged to a nice writer, she drops by North’s office to return the years of alimony checks she never cashed. North immediately offers a proposition she convinces herself she can’t refuse: $10,000 if she will spend a month in the wilds of southern Ohio caring for two orphaned children, distant relatives for whom he’s had responsibility since their Aunt May’s death two years earlier. North has only met them once, leaving them in the care of a string of nannies in their creepy Victorian mansion imported from England by the children’s ancestor. As soon as Andie meets the housekeeper, Mrs. Crumb, with her “reptile smile,” she knows she’s in for a challenge. Blonde, waiflike Alice has a violent temper when crossed. Her older brother Carter barely speaks. Immediately, Andie begins to succeed with them where the nannies failed. But then there are ghosts that Andie and the kids see. Two came with the house a century ago and are clearly sinister. They killed Aunt May, whose spirit remains and chats up Andie about North, inadvertently reminding Andie how much she still loves him and not poor Will. Then North’s brother, Southie, arrives with his TV newswoman, who has sniffed out the ghost story and wants to conduct a séance. Actually she wants to expose North for mistreating his wards. Soon North, his mother, Andie’s mother, Andie’s purported fiancé, a medium and a professional ghost skeptic have assembled as storm clouds gather. Now throw a little Agatha Christie into the mix. Why Andie gets to see the ghosts is never clear; nor frankly, why North shouldn’t be charged with neglect.

A charmless romance, neither funny nor scary.