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Maybe This Time [Hardcover]

Jennifer Crusie
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 31 2010
The New York Times bestselling author of Bet Me, Tell Me Lies and Welcome to Temptation delivers her long-awaited novel

Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiancé 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 fiancé 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-inlaw, and, of course, her jealous fiancé. 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…


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Review

“A bewitching tale. Graced with deliciously original characters, imbued with addictively acerbic wit, driven by a wildly inventive, paranormal-flavored plot . . . Maybe This Time is Crusie at her very best.”—Booklist (starred review)

“As always, the greatest pleasure comes from watching Crusie put her great cast of quirky characters through their paces. This is a story of faith: in human nature, in love, in romance, in connections that cannot be broken. Crusie fans can rejoice in this original and funny romantic thriller.”—New York Journal of Books

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

From beloved New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Crusie comes a novel that gives a new twist to old flames, second chances, and things that go bump in the night…

Andie Miller is ready to move on with her life. She wants to marry her fiancé and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, North asks one last favor: Since the death of a distant cousin, he’s become the guardian of two orphans who have already driven away three nannies. North needs someone to take care of the situation—and he knows Andie can handle anything.

“wildly inventive…Crusie at her very best.”—Booklist (starred review)

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. Complicating matters is Andie’s fiancé’s suspicion that this is all a plan by North to get Andie back. He may be right because Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house, and that’s not the only haunting. As Andie copes with the ghosts of her past and present, she begins to see that what she wants is the same thing that everyone in the house wants--a second chance--and that maybe this time she’ll get it.

“A marvelous tale that includes [Crusie’s] patented brand of humor and human foibles.”RT Book Reviews (HOT Pick, 41/2 stars)

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Really drags Jan. 16 2012
Format:Hardcover
I'm half way through the book and can't wait for it to end. I'm having to force myself to finish it. It's boring, it drags and nothing has happened. Wow took her half the book to figure out there are 2 ghosts in the house. The ex husband, whom I believe she's supposed to end up with again, still hasn't even shown up at the house. I don't know how they're supposed to hook up together again when he's not even there. I used to love Crusie's books, this one is a pass though, i can't believe how boring it is.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She's back!!! Sept. 27 2010
By Nina L
Format:Hardcover
It is great to see Jennifer Crusie back in the comedy of manners genre. I have really missed her. She has such a light and witty touch when it comes to relationships and her characters are always a bit quirky. It is a charming and very readable novel.
My big question is why has so many of the good "ironic humour of romance" writers gone the way of the supernatural? Ghosts for Crusie, Vampires for Cabot - surely there is enough going on, on this level that everybody does not have to jump the spooky bandwagon! Answer me that, if you please.
That part is dissapointing but it is still a fun and fresh read. Welcome back Ms. Crusie.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  199 reviews
77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Classic Crusie, But Good! July 4 2010
By Randi Morse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I first read Jennifer Crusie three years ago. I'd asked my librarian for a book that was light and yet fun to read, and she immediately pointed me towards Crusie. I fell in love with her characters and snagged up all of her books. I loved the characters and how funny they always were, and how she intermingled love with the funny story.

I was extremely excited to get to review Maybe This Time, as I haven't read any new Crusie books since her last one was released. You've probably already read what the story is about, so instead of detailing that, I'll stick to the critiquing.

THE GOOD

Once again we get Crusie's classic wit. You read all sorts of hilarious things in the book, with witty characters that you definitely won't forget. Andie is just as memorable as any other female Crusie character, and I definitely fell in love with Dennis the ghost expert and Isolde the medium. I also really enjoyed that she snuck in Gabe McKenna, from one of her other books. It was nice to see the character in a story that wasn't his own, and I hope she continues to give her characters little cameos.

Writing a ghost story isn't easy - writing a ghost romance that isn't cliche is extremely difficult, but Crusie does it. She manages to get the ghosts in there, explaining all about the different types of ghosts, without seeming corny. And you don't feel like you're reading a ghost story. You feel, as you do with other Crusie work, like you're simply popping into someone else's life for a time.

THE BAD

While the book was definitely readable, and memorable, and I'll definitely be reading it again (and probably again), there was just something missing. I think one of the problems I had was that while Andie feels like a main character, her ex-husband and leading man, North Archer, doesn't. We see him in pieces, in his office or through Andie's memories. I did love the memory flashbacks, but there really didn't feel like there were enough of them, or like Andie and North interacted enough. Even North's brother, Sullivan (Southie) seemed to be more alive on the page than North did. It was only towards the very end when I finally got to see what North was really like, and it's sad, because I wish I had a lot more of that throughout the entire book.

This Crusie book is definitely a great read, but I don't feel as though it's quite as strong as some of her other work. But after an absence of writing solo for 6 years, maybe she's just gotta work the kinks out.
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More ghost story than romance July 5 2010
By Book and Dog Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Andromeda (Andie) Miller decides that she needs to make a clear break from her past - from her ex-husband North Archer that is - so that she can move forward in her new relationship. She intends to just tell him to stop sending her alimony (and give him 10 years worth of uncashed checks) and be done with him. Instead, she finds herself agreeing to help him with his 2 wards - 2 children of his cousin who are only living with a housekeeper in a very Gothic house. The other nannies have quit and North is hoping that Andie will get things straightened out so that he can get the kids moved away from that house.

What Andie discovers when she gets to the house are 2 children who are a bit odd, a housekeeper who likes her booze, and some nasty ghosts who don't want her there. And nasty they are - these are no friendly, funny ghosts - these ghosts mean to drive Andie away.

And that was my problem with this book - I found that this was much more a story about Andie dealing with some nasty ghosts than a romance. Andie's conversations with North and their feelings for each other really take up a small part of this book.

I was a big fan of Jennifer Crusie books - Welcome to Temptation and Bet Me are two of my favorites - I loved the characters, I loved the dialog and I loved the romance. I couldn't get into her collaborations and was really excited to see her writing a new solo novel. You'll find that this is in some ways a typical Crusie novel - well-written with some wonderful dialog, some wacky relatives who want to help, and a great heroine - I loved Andie.

Overall, I say if you're a Crusie fan, you'll probably like this book. But if you're looking for a romance or some witty dialog between the hero and heroine as they try to see if maybe this time their relationship will work, you may be disappointed.
43 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not vintage Crusie by any means June 30 2010
By feysidhe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I had high hopes for this book. I've been waiting and waiting for Crusie to come out with a new solo book since I haven't enjoyed her collaborations. Unfortunately, this book didn't live up to my expectations.

As usual, Crusie has created some likable characters, but this time they don't suit the book particularly well. There's Andromeda (Andie) Miller, who is ready to go on with her life and get married again after being divorced from her husband, North, for 10 years. As a last favor (too complicated to get into the reasoning--suffice it to say it didn't make me like North particularly, nor was it the most convincing setup), Andie agrees to go deal with North's two wards, who are off in a rural area and who he'd like to bring to live in Columbus with him.

But the kids don't want to move and he has no idea if they are able to matriculate into regular schools, so Andie says she will go and bring them up to speed educationally, as well as deal with the psychological problems they seem to have. (Andie is a paragon, you see. North is not. Their relationship is not terribly believable.)

The setup at the house is quite Gothic. In fact, one feels as if one has stepped right into a prototypical Gothic historical romance, except for the very modern characters and the snappy, humorous dialogue. There are ghosts, murders, a creepy housekeeper, fading children...the whole deal. And that could all work well, but it doesn't fit with Crusie's light and witty style, or with the addition of the kooky characters of Andie's mother, the extraneous medium, etc.

All that sounds very negative, but the fact is that Crusie is an entertaining writer and she makes long stretches of this work. This is not an awful book, it's just not very good, either. (B-)
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and Kooky July 6 2010
By A. Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Hooray! Jennifer Crusie is back! I have always loved Crusie novels for their off-beat kind of humor, and interesting, if not a little wacky, characters. This book had all that and more! It was really enjoyable to read a Jennifer Crusie novel again.

That having been said, I agree with others who have said that this was more "ghost story" than romance, and that the character of North seemed a bit flat. I get that he was supposed to be the one steady "rock" and the one calming influence in this whole story, but that doesn't mean he can't have more character. I liked him OK, I just wanted to really see what Andie saw in him.

EDIT:
My previous review talked about how all the 80's and 90's references made the book seem dated to me. Then, it was pointed out to me that it was supposed to be set in 1992....says it right in one of the first pages. Duh. So...I retract my original complaints about dated references.

That having been said though...sorry, it's still odd, and the story still seems dated because....well....it is. Why? The only answer is "because." Another one of those quirky Crusie things? But...this one doesn't work for me. Instead of feeling nostalgic, again, it just seems dated. I don't know...I guess I feel like a "contemporary" novel should take place in the time period it is released in. If this had been billed as some sort of newfangled "historical," and it was made very obvious it was purposely written in the past to be nostalgic, then I guess I might not have had such a negative reaction to the dated references. But, one line of "This book takes place in 1992. Because." almost makes it seem as if this was an old novel that had never made it, but was suddenly revived, and instead of going through the hassle of updating all the references, they put a note at the beginning and now it's fine. Not saying that's what happened, I'm just saying that's how it feels to me. At the risk of repeating myself: Odd.

BUT...

Despite those criticisms, I found the book to be completely enjoyable and fun and I highly recommended it for any Crusie fan.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So... so sad. Sept. 5 2010
By D. Rizzo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Okay, I love Jennifer Crusie. She's welcome for dinner at my house whenever she wants to come. I love her books and share them with everybody all of the time. I would love to write half as well... to do anything half as well. For my two cents, in the contemporary romantic fiction genre, she is without parallel. Totally in a class by herself.

That being said, this book is NOT contemporary romantic fiction. It's contemporary science fiction. And hey, I'm all for branching out and trying new things. Totally. How else do we learn? Grow? Evolve? I get that. Respect it, even.

Now, if anybody else in the world had written this book other than Jennifer Crusie... I'd still have thought it was marginal. At best. I laughed a couple of times, but the story as a whole didn't capture me, and I didn't find it terribly satisfying. But Jennifer Crusie DID write this book. Jennifer, my favorite modern writer period, branched out. Tried something new. Attempted to grow and evolve. And... as such, I admire her further... but not enough entirely to like this book.

And I don't dislike it because it doesn't follow Crusie's broadly drawn yet terribly enthralling and effective romantic formula of boy-meets-girl, boy-and-girl-fight-constantly, boy-and-girl-survive-through-myriad-impossible-challenges, boy-and-girl-decide-to-stop-fighting-and-have-lots-of-enthusiastic-sex. I don't dislike it for lacking ANY of the basic Crusie hallmarks (the eccentric best friend... the dog... the career... the maverick, beauty-impaired main character). Crusie is a talented writer, and she has many tools in her arsenal, too many to rely on stock. I don't dislike it because it's not, primarily, modern romantic fiction. I don't dislike it because it's science fiction, even.

I dislike it because it utterly lacks depth.

Crusie's modern romantic fiction stories have amazing depth in a genre not known, generally, for its finely tuned characterization or commentary on social imperfections and ramifications. They are really, truly stories, if stories where people wind up "deshabille" near the end. But the characters, especially in her novels near the beginning of this decade, were whole people made from whole cloth, and they had histories, proclivities, desires, and motivations that she crafted so brilliantly it was possible to SEE the people AS people in my mind. They lived and breathed, laughed and loved... they even murdered with a conviction that was possible to understand from the impeccible complexity of the story so completely supporting them.

This book doesn't do that.

There is Andie. She's okay, funny, spunky, etc.etc.etc., but she seems to have sprung, fully formed, like Cupid off of Venus' head, no history, no context, and not a whole lot of investment. Same with her cypher ex husband, the ostensible savior of the story. The children in this creepy tale are dysfunctional in the extreme and pretty hard to like, even by the end (What a lost opportunity for Crusie to explore some depth, as these characters came out of her brain onto a silver platter; she could have done something momentous in this story with them -- but didn't -- and WHY are they they way they are? What do they have to SAY about why they are the way they are? What do they really want? Let them scream for themselves, and not just idly).

I don't know. This book reads more like a first novel than the upteenth novel from a celebrated artist; I hope in all sincerity that Crusie's not going back to the beginning to conquer another genre. She doesn't have to. But if this is her latest, maybe she does have to start at the beginning? Anyway, yes, I gave it two stars for sheer inventiveness of the story (the house itself merits a star) and another for the fact that I did, to be honest, laugh out loud a couple of times. Neither factor wholly redeems the book, but perhaps Crusie's upcoming book, Trust Me on This, will show what this immensely talented writer really can do.
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