Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiance 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 before they go their separate ways forever. A very distant cousin of his has died and left North as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything…
When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, 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. What’s worse, Andie’s fiance thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right. Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that’s not the only haunting…
What follows is a hilarious adventure in exorcism, including a self-doubting parapsychologist, an annoyed medium, her Tarot-card reading mother, an avenging ex-mother-in-law, and, of course, her jealous fiance. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get more complicated, North shows up on the doorstep making her wonder if maybe this time things could be different between them.
If Andie can just get rid of all the guests and ghosts, she’s pretty sure she can save the kids, and herself, from the past. But fate might just have another thing in mind…
So Andie heads to outer Mongolia, otherwise known as souther Ohio, to be the nanny to her ex-husband's wards. What she finds is a house that has been neglected and two children that have been too. She immediately sets forth the plan to improve both. The children are definitely none to happy to have yet another nanny, but they find themselves thwarted by Andie. She's stubborn and she's got the compassion and fortitude to see this through. What she thinks will be a 1 month nannyship for $10,000 turns into a turn in her life as a whole.
The biggest surprise is not that she becomes emotionally attached to the kids but that the house is actually haunted. Not someone with nefarious intentions making her think that the house is haunted to get her away from it, but there are real ghosts living in and around the house. They've attached themselves to the house and now to the children to the point where the kids are willing to stay so that no one else they love dies.
Andie's plans to get the kids out of the house is delayed when North's brother shows up with a new reporter, a parapsychologist and a cameraman. Then a medium with an unhappy spirit guide are next - then more folks show up to try and "help" Andie. I wish I could say that this part of the story was funny but i found most everyone quite annoying. North then shows up and takes care of issues in his own "North" way. He doesn't believe Andie when she says there are ghosts but he's willing to believe that she believes.
I gotta tell ya that by far my favorite character in this book was North. Yes, he had screwed up when he and Andie had been married before but he was willing to do whatever it took to make her happy this time - and I think he learned a little bit more about himself and the way he looked at life as well. He was just a good soul and I loved how he was written. The kids played a close second to North in that they were quite lovable despite their idiosyncrasies.
While Andie was also a good character she was too frazzled for most of the story for me to really love her. She got attached to the kids quite quickly but I felt it more as a protective role than motherly - even though it was, if that makes sense. She handled things well with the ghosts as well as the multitude of visitors to the house, I must say, considering all the crap that was happening, and I had to admire her for that.
Ah, the long-awaited novel by Jennifer Crusie. I've enjoyed the joint writings by her and Bob Mayer (at least the one I read) but I've been waiting impatiently for a solo project. When it came down to it, though, I have to say I had mixed feelings for the book as whole. While still a very good book I felt there was something missing from this one that had been in her other books. The problem, I. Don't. Know! Ug. And I honestly hate saying that without something substantial to back it up, but it's just a feeling that I was always left with after reading Crusie's previous book. There was a sense of satisfaction and contentment that I was always left with after reading such wonderful titles such as Bet Me, Welcome to Temptation and Faking It. That satisfaction was missing when I read the last page of this book. As I said, a very good book but, for me, not one of my favorites.
Rating: 4 out of 5
I received this book by Authors on the Web for review.
The publisher, St. Martin's Press, has been kind enough to offer 1 copy of Maybe This Time for me to giveaway! If you live within the USA or Canada and want to be entered in the drawing, just let me know by leaving a comment, sometime before 11:59pm on Thursday, August 26. I will announce the winner on Friday, August 27. Good Luck!
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