Andie Miller is finally over her ex-husband, North Archer. She’s getting married to someone else, and heads to his office to symbolically return ten years’ worth of alimony checks. As it turns out, though, North still needs her help; he has two young wards in a supposedly haunted house. Three nannies have fled from the kids, and North is pretty desperate. So he offers Andie a ridiculous amount of money to take care of them for just a month, convinced that she’s the one – not ready to let her go. She can’t turn that down, not just to take care of two kids, but it turns out that the house truly is haunted – and the ghosts don’t want to let the kids go.
Jennifer Crusie is the only contemporary romance author I like and she’s proved herself yet again here. This isn’t a romance, because the romance isn’t driving the plot, but it is one fantastic book no matter what genre you put it in. I picked this book up and I did not put it back down. I ignored basically everything else going on and absolutely inhaled this book because I just completely loved it. I loved it so much that I’m not sure I can even articulate why but I will completely agree with Crusie’s editor – your weekend might be shot because of this book, but you won’t be sorry.
First of all, the plot. Most of the book takes place in the haunted house with the kids and their skeezy housekeeper. I knew there were ghosts involved, but for a while there is some suspense around who they are, why the kids won’t leave the house, and what everyone’s so nervous about. Andie not only has to win the kids’ affection and, you know, educate them, but has to contend with ghosts who will not let the kids leave. The pace quickly ratchets up and is part of the reason I sped through the book. I had to know what happened and I couldn’t let the story go long enough to set the book down. And, to my surprise, it was genuinely creepy. There was a definite gothic feel to the book. I was afraid for Andie, Alice, and Carter, and I wasn’t sure how it would all end.
The relationships in this book are most definitely its strongest point. There’s so much growing and changing that it’s almost incredible, between Andie and the kids, Andie and the ghosts, Andie and North, even between all the eventual houseguests, who all have their own distinctive and wonderful personalities. They feel like real people and they react like real people and I was desperate for most of them to be okay and happy. I could believe in everything happening here, and at times their interactions just brought tears to my eyes. It was that good.
And, of course, the romance is just spectacular. Crusie’s words are magic. Andie and North have a history that’s slowly revealed and better yet, they’ve made mistakes. They’ve changed. They’re adults now in ways they weren’t really before, but they can still feel the romance of their youth and bring it back. I loved how their memories intertwined with what was happening now to create a completely new relationship based on the foundations of the old.
Honestly, Maybe This Time was just great. I think it could appeal to many people outside of Crusie’s normal audience, who are bored by a normal romance but would definitely enjoy the suspense and quirky characters of this one. It was absolutely perfect for me and I suspect I will go on recommending it to everyone I see for a long, long time.
I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free from the Amazon Vine program.