Maybe This Time (Review)

Labels: A Lighter Touch

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Maybe This Time 
Jennifer Crusie, 2010
352 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
May 2011

Jennifer Crusie has a wide following for her breezy, humorous take on the romance novel—and her latest book is no exception.

In Maybe This Time, she uses Henry James's eerie gothic tale, The Turn of the Screw (see below), as her point of departure. What she ends up with is a fun modern ghost story—with a screw-ball cast of characters and two endearing children.

Newly engaged Andie Miller stops by her ex-husband's law office to return uncashed alimony checks. This is to be her final, definitive break with the past. But on her way out the door, North Archer convinces her to head down to an isolated swath of southern Ohio and care for two orphaned youngsters, children of distant cousins left in his charge. The house is rumored to be haunted, and previous nannies or governesses have all fled the scene.

That's the set up. And what follows—although a bit slow getting off the ground...and fairly predictable in the romance department—is good fun. There are seances, a talking couch, a toothy TV reporter, a snockered housekeeper, and a sexed-crazed ghost...or so it would seem. As in Henry James's original, it's unclear whether the ghosts exist or not.

This isn't great literature, dear readers, just a light, fun take on a famous ghost story. But as is often the case, ghosts reflect back one's own psychological underpinnings. That's what Andie finds out. If you're looking for a break from your normal heavier reads, this is a good one.

See our Reading Guide for Maybe This Time

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