April 30, 2012

Book Review: Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

At First Sight: Andie Miller just wants to start a new life with her fiancĂ© and break with everything that reminds her of the old one, specially her ex-husband North Archer - who keeps sending her alimony checks every month, ten years after their divorce. 

But when she shows up at North's office to return all the un-cashed alimony checks, North asks her a favor and she is reminded of how she has never really been able to say 'no' to North. So she heads off to the wilds of southern Ohio to look after North's niece and nephew and try to get them ready to move to Columbus with North.

Alice and Carter Archer have been mostly on their own since their father and then their aunt died, with little comfort but each other and under the dubious care of an old housekeeper. But they are not defenseless children, and so far they have managed to run off three nannies already. And they certainly try to run Andie off as well, as they don't want to leave their crumbly, gothic house under any circumstances. A house that might or might not be full of ghosts.

But Andie is determined to stay as long as it takes and do what needs to be done and, ever so slowly, she starts to win the kids trust. One the downside, though, she's growing apart from her current fiancĂ©, she's talking to workaholic North all the time -after ten years of silence - and remembering just want worked and what didn't work about their short-lived marriage. And she keeps having hot, steamy dreams about him. 

Second Glance: I hadn't read a book by Jennifer Crusie in a really long time, but the moment I picked up Maybe This Time, I felt like I had just ran into a dear, old friend because everything I love about Jenny Crusie's writing was there. 

Maybe This Time was funny, quirky and unique. It was a ghost story but one that worked well in many levels. I liked the kids, Alice and Carter - though Carter could have used a bit more page time - they were quite kid-like but kids to whom a lot of things had happened and they acted like it. Also, I loved that though Andie never wanted to have kids of her own, she grows to love Alice and Carter with a mother's devotion, yet she never, ever thinks "I want to have a baby", because she doesn't. 

Also, I really liked North, he's a man who is weighted down by a lot of responsibility but also has a lot of passion, he has loved just one woman in his whole life and he kind of regrets letting her go, but he's not the type to try to mess with her life, much as he misses her. 

All in all, I had fun with this book, though I admit there were some scenes that were so manic I felt like I was watching episode of New Girl (not in that the story lines are similar, just the energy of what was going on). 

Bottom Line: I found Maybe This Time to be such a fun, campy book, with ghosts, kids, a creepy old mansion and also a story about second chances (one of my favorite kind). It's a perfect pick-me up of a book.

Favorite Quote: Alice said, "You have a lot of teeth. Andie says you have to brush your teeth every night or they'll rot out of your head."
"What's like living in a haunted house?"
"I don't like nuts," Alice said. "But I eat them in the chocolate chip cookies and banana bread because Andie says, if you don't like nuts, don't eat the cookies."
"Andie is your nanny, right?"
"No. Andie is my Andie. She says you're a hag from hell." Alice smiled serenely as if she were just a cute kid, repeating what some adult had said, but North could see the glint in her eye. - Tape of Alice and reporter Kelly. 
starstarstarstarPersonal Favorite

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