Maybe This Time

Maybe This Time

by Jennifer Crusie

Hardcover(First Edition)

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Overview

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312303785
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 08/31/2010
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Crusie is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of Welcome to Temptation, Tell Me Lies, Crazy for You, Faking It, Fast Women and Bet Me. She has also collaborated with Bob Mayer to write Wild Ride, Agnes and the Hitman and Don't Look Down. Crusie earned her bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University, a master's from Wright State University, and a master of fine arts from Ohio State University. Before devoting herself to writing full-time, Crusie worked as a preschool teacher, an elementary and junior high art teacher, and a high school English teacher. She lives on the banks of the Ohio River.

Hometown:

Ohio

Date of Birth:

1949

Place of Birth:

Ohio

Education:

B.A., Bowling Green State University, 1973; M.A., Wright State University; Ph.D., Ohio University, 1986

Read an Excerpt

One

Andie Miller sat in the reception room of her ex-husband’s law office, holding on to ten years of uncashed alimony checks and a lot of unresolved rage. This is why I never came back here, she thought. Nothing wrong with repressed anger as long as it stays repressed.

“Miss Miller?”

Andie jerked her head up and a lock of hair fell out of her chignon. She stuffed it back into the clip on the back of her head as North’s neat, efficient secretary smiled at her, surrounded by the propriety of his Victorian architecture. If that secretary had a chignon, nothing would escape from it. North was probably crazy about her.

“Mr. Archer will see you now,” the secretary said.

“Well, good for him.” Andie stood up, yanked on the hem of the only suit jacket she owned, and then wondered if she’d sounded hostile.

“He’s really very nice,” the secretary said.

“No, he isn’t.” Andie strode across the ancient rug to the door of North’s office, opened it before the secretary could get in ahead of her, and then stopped.

North sat behind his walnut desk, his cropped blond hair almost white in the sunlight from the window behind him. His wire-rimmed glasses had slid too far down his nose again, and his shirt-sleeves were rolled up over his forearms—Still playing racquetball, Andie thought—and his shoulders were as straight as ever as he studied the papers spread out across the polished top of the desk. He looked exactly the way he had ten years ago when she’d bumped her suitcase on the door frame on her way out of town—

“Miss Miller is here,” his secretary said from behind her, and he looked up at her over his glasses, and the years fell away, and she was right back where she’d begun, staring into those blue-gray eyes, her heart pounding.

After what seemed like forever, he stood up. “Andromeda. Thank you for coming.”

She crossed the office, smiled tightly at him over the massive desk, decided that shaking his hand would be weird, and sat down. “I called you, remember? Thank you for seeing me.”

North sat down, saying, “Thank you, Kristin,” to his secretary, who left.

“So the reason I called—” Andie began, just as he said, “How is your mother?”

Oh, we’re going to be polite. “Still crazy. How’s yours?”

“Lydia is fine, thank you.” He straightened the papers on his desk into one stack.

A lot of really big trees had died to make that desk. His mother had probably gnawed them down, used her nails to saw the boards, and finished the decorative cutwork with her tongue.

“I’ll tell her you asked after her.”

“She’ll be thrilled. Say hi to Southie for me, too.” Andie opened her purse, took out the stack of alimony checks, and put them on the desk. “I came to give these back to you.”

North looked at the checks for a moment, the strong, sharp planes of his face shadowed by the back light from the window.

Say something, she thought, and when he didn’t, she said, “They’re all there, one hundred and nineteen of them. November nineteen eighty-two to last month.”

His face was as expressionless as ever. “Why?”

“Because they’re a link between us. We haven’t talked in ten years but every month you send me a check even though you know I don’t want alimony. Which means every month I get an envelope in the mail that says I used to be married to you. And every month I don’t cash them, and it’s like we’re nodding in the street or something. We’re still communicating.”

“Not very well.” North looked at the stack. “Why now?”

“I’m getting married.”

She watched him go still, the pause stretching out until she said, “North?”

“Congratulations. Who’s the lucky man?”

“Will Spenser,” Andie said, pretty sure North wouldn’t know him.

“The writer?”

“He’s a great guy.” She thought about Will, tall, blond, and genial. The anti-North: He never forgot she existed. “I’m ready to settle down, so I’m drawing a line under my old life.” She nodded at the checks. “That’s why I came to give you those back. Don’t send any more. Please.”

After a moment, he nodded. “Of course. Congratulations. The family will want to send a gift.” He pulled his legal pad toward him. “Are you registered?”

“No, I’m not registered,” Andie said, exasperated. “Technically, I’m not even engaged yet. He asked me, but I needed to give you the checks back before I said yes.” She didn’t know why she’d expected him to have a reaction to the news. It wasn’t as if he still cared. She wasn’t sure he’d cared when she’d left.

“I see. Thank you for returning the checks.”

North straightened the papers on his desk again, and then looked down at the top paper for a long moment, as if he were reading it. He’d probably forgotten she was there again because his work was—

He looked up. “Perhaps, since you haven’t said yes yet, you could postpone your new life.”

“What?”

“I have a problem you could help with. It would only take you a few months, maybe less—”

“North, did you even hear what I said?”

“—and we’d pay you ten thousand dollars a month, plus expenses, room, and board.”

She started to protest and then thought, Ten thousand dollars a month?

He straightened the folder on his desk again. “Theodore Archer, a distant cousin, died two years ago and made me the guardian of his two children.”

Ten thousand a month. There had to be a catch. Then the rest of what he’d said hit her. “Children?”

“I went down to see them at the family home where their aunt was taking care of them. They’d been living there with their father, their grandmother, and their aunt since the little girl was born eight years ago, but the grandmother had died before Theodore.”

“Down? They’re not here in Ohio?”

“The house is in a remote area in the south of the state. The place is isolated, but the children seemed fine with their aunt, so we agreed it was best that they’d stay there with her in order to disrupt their lives as little as possible.”

And to disrupt yours as little as possible, Andie thought.

North waited, as if he expected her to say it out loud. When she didn’t, he went on. “Unfortunately, the aunt died in June. Since then I’ve hired three nannies, but none have stayed.”

“Lot of death in the family,” Andie said.

“The children’s mother died in childbirth with the little girl. The grandmother died in her seventies of a heart attack. Theodore was killed in a car accident. The aunt fell from a tower on the house—”

“Wait, the house has towers?”

“It’s a very old house,” North said, his tone making it clear that he didn’t want to discuss towers. “The battlements are crumbling, and she evidently leaned on the wrong stone and fell into the moat.”

“The moat,” Andie said. “Is this a joke?”

“No. Theodore’s great-great-grandfather had the house brought over from En gland in the 1850s. I don’t know why he dug a moat. The point is, these children have nobody, and they’re alone down there in the middle of nowhere with only the house keeper taking care of them. If you will go down there, I will pay you ten thousand a month to … fix them.”

“Fix them,” Andie said. Ten thousand a month was ridiculous, but it would pay off her credit card bills and her car. In one month. Ten thousand dollars would mean she could get married without debt. Not that Will cared, but it would be better to go to him free and clear. “What do you mean, fix them?”

“The children are … odd. We wanted to bring them here in June after their aunt’s death, but the little girl had a psychotic break when the nanny tried to take her away from the house. The boy was sent away to boarding school at the beginning of August, but he’s been expelled for setting fires. I need someone to go down there and stabilize the children, bring their education up to standard for their grade level so they can go to public school, and then move them up here with us.”

Andie shook her head and another chunk of hair slipped out of her chignon. “Psychotic breaks and setting fires,” she said, as she stuffed it back. “North, I teach high school English. I have no idea how to help kids like this. You need—”

“I need somebody who doesn’t care about the way things are supposed to be,” he said, his eyes sliding to her neck. “I think that’s where the nannies are going wrong. I need somebody who will do the unconventional thing without blinking. Somebody who will get things done.” He met her eyes. “Even if she doesn’t stay for the long haul.”

“Hey,” Andie said.

“I would take it as a personal favor. I’ve never asked you for anything—”

“You asked for a divorce.” As soon as she said it, she knew it was a mistake.

He looked at her over the tops of his glasses, exasperated. “I did not ask you for a divorce.”

“Yes you did,” Andie said, in too far to stop now. “You told me that I seemed unhappy, and if that was true, you would understand if I divorced you.”

“You were playing ‘Any Day Now’ every time I came up to the attic. As hints go, it was pretty broad.”

He looked annoyed, so that was something, but it didn’t do anything for her anger. “There are people who, if their spouses are unhappy, try to do something about it.”

“I did. I gave you a divorce. You had one foot out the door anyway. Do we need to review that again?”

“No. The divorce is a dead subject.” And the ghost of it is sitting right here with us. Although maybe only with her. North didn’t looked haunted at all.

“I realize you’re getting ready to start a new life,” he went on. “But if you haven’t made plans yet, there’s no reason you couldn’t wait a few months. You could use the money for the wedding.”

“I don’t want a wedding, I want to get married. Why are you offering me ten thousand dollars a month for babysitting? You didn’t pay the nannies that. It’s ridiculous. For ten thousand a month, you should not only get child care, you should get your house cleaned, your laundry done, your tires rotated, and if I were you, I’d insist on nightly blow jobs. Did you think I wouldn’t notice that you’re still trying to keep your thumb on me?” She shook her head, and the lock of hair fell out of her chignon again. Well, the hell with that, too.

He sat very still, and then he said, “Why do you have your hair yanked back like that?” sounding as annoyed as she was.

“Because it’s professional.”

“Not if it keeps falling down.”

“Thank you,” Andie said. “Now butt out. Ten thousand is too much money. You’re still trying to pay me off—”

“Andromeda, I’m asking for a favor, a big one, and I don’t think the money is out of line. We didn’t leave our marriage enemies, so I don’t see why you’re hostile now.”

“I’m not hostile,” Andie said, and then added fairly, “well, okay, I am hostile. You didn’t do anything to save our marriage ten years ago, but every month you send a check so I’ll think of you again. It’s passive aggressive. Or something. You know the strongest memory I have of you? Sitting right there, behind that desk. You’d think I’d remember you naked with all the mattress time we clocked in that year together, but no, it’s you, staring at me from behind all that walnut as if you weren’t quite sure who I was. You have no idea how many times I wanted to take an ax to that damn desk just to see if you’d notice me.”

North looked down at his desk, perplexed.

“You hide behind it,” Andie said, sitting back now that she wasn’t repressing anything anymore. “You use it to keep from getting emotionally involved.”

“I use it to write on.”

“You know what I mean. It gives you distance.”

“It gives me storage. Have you lost your mind?”

Andie looked at him for a moment, sitting there rigid and polite and completely inaccessible. “Yes. It was a bad idea coming back here. I should go now.” She stood up.

“She said the house is haunted,” North said.

“Excuse me?”

“The last nanny. She said there were ghosts in the house. I asked the local police to look into things to see if somebody was playing tricks, but they found nothing. I think it’s the kids, but if I send another nanny down there like the previous ones, she’s going to quit, too. I need somebody different, somebody who’s tough, somebody who can handle the unexpected. Somebody like you. And you’re the only person like you that I know.” Suddenly he was the old North again, warm and real with that light in his eyes as he looked at her. “They’re little kids, Andie. I can’t get them out of there, and I can’t leave them there, and with Mother in France, I can’t leave the practice long enough to find out what’s going on, and even if I could, I don’t know anything about kids. I need you.”

Ouch. “I don’t—”

“Everybody they’ve ever been close to has died,” North said quietly. “Everybody they’ve ever loved has left them.”

Bastard, Andie thought. “I can’t give you months. That’s ridiculous.”

North nodded, looking calm, but she’d been married to him for a year so she knew: He was going in for the kill. “Give them one month then. You can draw your line under us, we don’t need to talk, you can send reports to Kristin, hell, take your fiancé down there with you.”

“I’m the least maternal person I know,” Andie said, thinking, Ten thousand dollars. And more than that, two helpless kids who’d lost everyone they loved, going crazy in the middle of nowhere.

“I don’t think they need maternal,” he said. “I think they need you.”

“A psychotic little girl and a boy who’s growing up to be a serial killer. He didn’t push his aunt off that tower, did he?”

“They’re growing up alone, Andie,” North said, and Andie thought, Oh, hell.

The problem was, he sounded sincere. Well, he always did, he was good at that, but now that she really looked at him, he had changed. She could see the stress in his face, the lines that hadn’t been there ten years ago, the tightening of the skin over his bones, the age in the hollows under his eyes. His brother Southie probably still looked as smooth as a boiled egg, but North was still trapped behind that damn desk, taking care of everyone in the family. And now there were two more in the family, and he was handling it alone.

And two little kids were even more alone in a big house somewhere in the wilds of southern Ohio.

“Please,” North said, those gray-blue eyes fixed on her.

“Yes,” Andie said.

He drew a deep breath. “Thank you.” Then he put his glasses back on, professional again. “There’s a house hold account you can draw on for any expenses, and a credit card. The house keeper will clean and cook for you. If you come by tomorrow, Kristin will give you a copy of this folder with everything you need in it and your first check, of course.”

Andie sat there for a moment, a little stunned that she’d said yes. She’d felt the same way after he’d proposed.

“I’d appreciate it if you could go down as soon as possible.”

“Right.” She shoved her hair back, picked up her purse, and stood up again. “I’ll drive down tomorrow and see what I can do. You have a good winter terrorizing the opposing counsel.”

She headed for the door, refusing to look back. This was good. She’d given back the checks and cut the connection, so she could spare a month to save two orphans. Will was in New York for the next two weeks anyway, and he’d come home to a fiancée with no debt, and then—

“Andie,” North said, and she turned back in the doorway.

“Thank you,” he said, standing now behind his desk, tall and lean and beautiful and looking at her the way he’d used to.

Get out of here. “You’re welcome.”

Then she turned and walked out before he could say or do anything else that made her forget she was done with him.

After Andie left, North sat for a moment considering the possibility that he’d lost his mind. He’d had the résumés of several excellent nannies on his desk, and he’d hired his ex-wife instead. Fuck, he thought, and deliberately put her out of his mind, which was difficult since she’d mentioned blow jobs. Which were irrelevant because he and Andie were over, had been for ten years. Blow jobs. No, she was right: Draw a line under it. He went back to work, making notes on his newest case as the shadows grew longer and Kristin left for the night, definitely not thinking about Andie, his black capital letters spaced evenly in straight rows, as firm and as clear as his thinking—

He stopped and frowned at the page. Instead of “Indiana” he’d written “Andiana.” He marked an I over the A but the word sat there on the page, misspelled and blotted, a dark spot on the clear pattern of his day.

There was a knock on the door at the same time it opened.

“North!” his brother Sullivan said as he came in, his tie loosened and his face as genial as ever under his flop of brown hair.

Say hi to Southie for me, Andie had said. It had been ten years since anybody had called Sullivan “Southie.”

“You look like hell.” Sullivan lounged into the same chair Andie had taken and put his feet on the desk. “You can’t work round the clock. It’s not healthy.”

Your whole life isn’t the damn law firm, North, Andie had said a month before she’d left him. You have a life. And you have me although not for much longer if you don’t knock off this I-live-for-my-work crap.

“I like my work,” he said to his brother now. “How’s Mother?”

“Now that’s health. That woman was built for distance.”

North pictured their elegant, platinum-haired mother running a marathon in her pearls, kicking any upstarts out of the way with the pointed end of her heels as she crossed the finish line. She’d been thrilled when Andie left.

Excerpted from Maybe this Time by Jennifer Crusie.

Copyright © 2010 by Argh Ink.

Published in 2010 by St. Martin’s Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Reading Group Guide

DISCUSSION GUIDE

With a big thank you to Eric Clapton, Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Browne, and everybody else who provided music for the Maybe This Time soundtrack (available here: http://bit.ly/MaybeThisTimeSoundtrack) because the question headings are from them.

1. Layla (Eric Clapton): Andie in 1982 was headstrong and impulsive; after all, she married North after knowing him for only a day. But as the book opens 10 yrs later, she's changed; as North says, when he fell in love with her in '82, he heard the original "Layla;" when he sees her in '92, he hears the acoustic version. How has she changed, and how does a month in the country change her ever more that the prev. 10 yrs? Why?

2. Man in Love (Eric Clapton): North is really laid back, so far back he's in the shadows, and it doesn't help that MTT is not a romance novel, so North had to work within a romantic subplot. Did you find the romance believable? Satisfying? Did he work for you as a romantic hero or was he just too detached?

3. Girls Just Want To Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper): Did you feel sympathy for May? Did you feel she was a fully developed character, something beyond the ghost that goes bump in the night?

4. Somebody's Baby (Jackson Browne): Alice lost her mother at birth, her father and her grandfather at six, and her aunt at seven. That's a lot of death and a lot of abandonment. Do you feel she was portrayed realistically given her circumstances? What about her relationship with Miss J? May? Her relationship with Andie is arguably the most important relationship in the story. Did you find it realistic? Compelling? What impact did it have on Andie? On Alice?

5. Any Day Now (Ronnie Milsap): Carter got short shrift for most of this story because he's so withdrawn mainly because he thinks he's doomed and he expects people to leave him. Did it bother you that Andie took so long to recognize that he was in trouble, too? Did his relationship with Andie and then later with North change him and them? Did you find those relationships believable? What about his relationship with Alice?

6. Baby Mine (Bonnie Raitt): The ghosts had each chosen a child before Andie got there. What was Miss J's relationship (if you can call it that) with Alice? What did she need from Alice? What did Peter need from Carter? Did you find them pitiful or frightening? Why? What impact did their choice to haunt children have on your perception?

7. Make A Move On Me (Olivia Newton-John): Andie ends up with two ghost experts on her hands: Isolde, a medium who knows there are ghosts, and Dennis, a parapsychologist who doesn't believe. What did they add to the story? Were both necessary? What did you think of where they ended in their relationship to the Archers, to each other, and to the world?

8. Lawyers in Love (Jackson Browne): The Archers are not good at marriage. North neglects his for work, Southie avoids the institution like the plague, and Lydia cheats on her husband with his ne'er-do-well brother. What's wrong with these people?

9. Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper): This book was written as an homage to Henry James's Turn of the Screw. What echoes from that story are in the book? What things are the same? What things are completely different, so much so as to be the exact opposite of the book?

10. Everything Changes (Kathy Troccoli): This book takes place over one month, but in the course of that month the lives of almost everyone in the story are irrevocably changed. Did you find that believable? Chaotic? Transformative for you as a reader?

11. SheBop (Cyndi Lauper): What question do you want to ask? It's all about Y-O-U on this one!

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Maybe This Time 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 328 reviews.
kittydanza More than 1 year ago
MAYBE THIS TIME, by Jennifer Crusie, is a romantic and thrilling book that will keep you glued to the pages. Crusie created a great story that is sweet and almost scary at times. I love the supernatural aspect of the ghosts and how the children factor into everything. I absolutely loved this book! I fell in love with the characters and I was enamored by their uncontrolled predicaments. Andie was such a doll and I would have loved to snatch her out of the book and make her my best friend. She was extremely patient with Alice and Carter and protected them with every inch of her soul. Crusie also let us into the mind of North, Andie's ex-husband, and it was a pleasurable experience. I thought North and Andie's past was a bit rocky but I am true believer that time heals all wounds, it just took some effort to get Andie thinking the same way. Even some of the more minor characters were hilarious. Mrs. Crumb, as the crochity housekeeper, was ecentric and sometimes too secretive which made me question her motives. I even liked experiencing the mystery of the house and the ghosts that inhabited it. I was pulled back and forth between siding with Andie or North in the debate about the ghosts and Crusie never allowed me to put my guard down until the very end! I liked how Alice and Carter fit into the larger aspect of the book. It was no mystery that these children have seen their share of horrors and neglect but Andie and her determination did stand a chance against them. I don't think I can give higher praise to this book. It was funny, fresh, romatic, with some added suspense. I highly recommend it to those looking for a great mystery and a little romance.
Kaylabethl More than 1 year ago
I read Bet Me first. Which has become one of my favorite books ever. While this book is less comical, it is still delightful. Not so much a romantic comedy, instead this book revolves around a haunted house and two children who are caught up in its trouble. If they made this book into a movie, I would want to see it immeadiately. Andie, the main character, is someone everyone can relate to. Well written, an easy read, and a wonderful ending make this book worth every penny. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.
poosie More than 1 year ago
Andie Miller is finally over her ex-husband, North Archer. She's marrying someone else, hopefully, and is seeking to finally, and totally, sever the ties with her ex-husband after being divorced for ten years. She wants to tie up a few loose ends prior to agreeing to marry her new love. During a meeting with North,(ex), he has one last request of her. to spend a month at an old castle in Southern Ohio so that she can "fix" two children who have managed to run off every nanny that he has sent. This is an enjoyable mix of romance, mystery and strange, paranormal aspects.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Thirty-four year old Andie Miller plans to finally sever the ties to her former husband North. However, she is reminded how difficult ending their relationship truly is in spite of their divorce. Somehow he persuaded her to help him rectify the issues confronting his deceased cousin's two troubled children Carter and Alice though she has no legal or blood links to the kids. The children reside in a gothic style mausoleum with a live grouch of a housekeeper Mrs. Danvers and a horde of ghosts. Andie tries her best to help the depressed lonely youngsters, but Alice and Carter are difficult to reach. She attempts to persuade late Aunt May, but the spirit insists she is going to get it right the second time around. Finally recently dead Dennis and seemingly eternal haunts Miss J and Peter prefer to stay earth bound. The beleaguered ex wife believes life is harder now with her former in-laws, live and dead, than when it was when she was married to North. Maybe This Time is an amusing paranormal second chance at love romance in which readers will agree with Andie that the otherworldly asylum and a facility on this side too have let the crazies out. Fast-paced and action-packed with a story line seemingly about to go out of control, but never does. Readers will enjoy Jennifer Crusie's zany romantic romp as North wonders if he still has a ghost of a chance with the woman he loves. Harriet Klausner
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Originally posted at: www.longandshortreviews.blogspot.com ***** Take Jennifer Crusie's trademark cast of quirky-but-realistic characters, mix in suspense and some paranormal activity and you have a whiz-bang book worth the six-year wait since her last solo effort. I'm a huge Jenny Crusie fangirl, so as much as I may have enjoyed her collaborative efforts, I've been anxious for her return to solo releases. While Maybe This Time is nothing like I expected, and is quite a bit different from the Crusie novels of old, I wasn't left wanting. North and Andie were divorced ten years ago, but now Andie's back in his life, demanding that he stop sending her alimony checks (that she's not cashing anyway) so she can move forward and marry someone else. North handles her announcement with a bit of shock and an offer: he'll pay her to take care of two kids he's inherited. All she has to do is settle them down and bring them home. The only catch? No governess has lasted very long, another person died after trying to remove the kids from their home and there are whispers of ... ghosts. Andie, determined but flexible Andie, needs the salary so she can enter her new marriage debt-free and can't see how it can be that hard to bring two kids back to Columbus. Besides, she doesn't believe in ghosts. I have to admit to going into this book thinking it was a regular romance, where the relationship between the hero and heroine was primary to the plot. I was wrong. At first, I was disappointed when Andie and North spent nearly no time together in this story (except occasionally on the phone, and frequently in their thoughts) for more than the first half of the book. I wish I'd gone into reading this without that assumption, because I would have been more excited about the book right off the bat instead of waiting and waiting and waiting for them to be together. Understand, I'm telling you this so you're prepared because it would be a shame for you not to enjoy this book to the fullest. Because the fact is, it's a hoot ... a shivery, don't read it after dark or you'll be looking over your shoulder at the slightest sound, mysterious kind of story that was thoroughly enjoyable. That's not to say there wasn't a romance here - but it really only takes place near the end. My advice is to enjoy the book for what it is and not get frustrated for what it isn't. I'm consistently amazed at how Ms. Crusie can take characters who should be utterly unbelievable and make them seem like they could be your neighbors or your friends. There's creepy Mrs. Crumb, adorable Southie, neurotic kids, Carter and Alice and more. By the time I was done reading this, I felt like I knew them all and I wanted to know what else happened to them. I was so completely invested in them, utterly involved in their lives I was sad and a little lonely when I finished the book. I really loved Andie best of all, though. She was so level-headed in the midst of chaos and took everything in stride (well, most everything anyway). She's a little loopy, but earnest and loving, and fairly open minded about things (must be her mom's influence!) and she wormed her way right into my heart. And it's not that North wasn't wonderful (if occasionally bemused), and he was the perfect foil for Andie, but I have to admit that Southie was my fave male character. I'm fairly certain I heard a rumor that Ms. Crusie is writing his story, and I can't wait to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So I've read most of Jennifer Crusie's published work and have really enjoyed it... but this was not what i was expecting. The reviews said funny ghost story, paranormal romance. And like the rest of us I've seen wizards, vampires and ghoulies in romance novels lately. So a witty haunting where she saves the children sounded perfect! If only this were the book the reviews said it was. This was a sad book! I didn't see the "humorous romance." I did however see Andie (the heroine) haunted by thoughts and miss a guy that existed 10 years earlier who came back and said that he wasn't the same guy. So instead of spending ANY time to get to know each other they had sex in a pantry. WTH? I would have been OK with that if they had been strangers (ironically enough) or if they had rekindled a romance of any sort. But we were spared by the author of getting to know the male lead character in any other way than a ghost demanding sexual information from Andie about the male character. Bottom line... Great author that really didn't do the idea of this story justice. DO read her other works because they're funny, fun and have a great pace. But if you're reading this one because you like the author be prepared for something completely Non-Crusie'esque. I actually am wondering if she had someone else write the book like Patterson, Greshem, Danielle Steel, or Nora Roberts... Point in fact-- i gave it 3 stars because it wasn't horribly written... I just wish it had been advertised/reviewed and promoted by someone that had read it. I would have given it 2.5 but had to give solid stars. There wasn't one huge smile or audible laughter from me (and I LOVE to laugh) when reading this book. I'll pick up Crusie's next novel at the book store when it comes out to skim through it. I'm never going to buy again just because of the author's history of writing.
HEDI09 More than 1 year ago
Heartwarming and chilling, the story is set in 1992, where Andromeda, (Andie), is a teacher and is sent by her ex-husband to help him with his 2 wards, 2 of his cousin's children who are only living with a housekeeper in an old castle-like house. The other nannies quit and North is hoping that Andie will get things straightened out so that he can get the kids moved away from that house. Andie wants to end that association before she agrees to marry Will, a local writer. Of course, Andie and her ex realize they both have strong feelings for each other, always a good sexual tension feature. They had only been married a year when Andie left the marriage because of her workaholic lawyer spouse, North. There is snappy, humorous dialogue, a bit of the paranormal world..or not.murders, a creepy housekeeper, fading children all add to the mystery. This will lift your spirits and make you smile! Lots of fun!
kronan1 More than 1 year ago
I'.m a big Crusie fan and this is just middle of the road for her. Don't think I'd suggest it to a friend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of her, but this book was not her best. Had to force my way through it to finish it.
AlwaysaBookinMyPurse More than 1 year ago
This book is difficult to put down once you begin reading it. If you are a Crusie fan, this one will delight you. It is well written and fast paced. However, it is quite different from Crusie's other books so be prepared. After the disappointment of her collaborations, this book is a welcome relief that she hasn't lost her skills for writing a fascinating story with wonderful characters.
crstnak More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Cruise's books and loved most of them. I've been disappointed with a couple of the last ones, especially the collaborations. But this one is back to the Jennifer Cruise I love. Like Bet Me and Faking It, it's funny and has truly interesting characters.
Angela_PT More than 1 year ago
so glad to have a brand new jennifer crusie book! it has been six long years since her last solo novel...it was worth the wait! the ghost aspect was different...and you can't help but to fall in love with andie and north! so good that i did nothing else but read the entire book yesterday!
Kathy89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a bizarre story of about a haunted house and the two orphaned children who live there. Their uncle wants to move them in with him in Columbus, Ohio and sends his ex-wife to the isolated house after the last nanny went running into the night. She slowly wins the kids over and starts communicating with the ghosts while keeping in touch with her ex and rebuilding a relationship with him. Seances, storms, house full of crazy character running around for the finale.
Liyanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading 'Bet me', I decided to read all books by this author. So glad there are many! This one was less romantic, but I loved it nonetheless. A fun ghost story.
Conkie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting change from other Crusie novels I've read. I liked the premise although not usually drawn to mystical/paranormal-type storylines. The only criticism I have is that it could have been streamlined, while maintaining the action. A bit slow and redundant in places.
busyreadin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining story of a divorced couple who, of course, are still in love with each other. When he inherits 2 difficult children he asks her to go stay with them until he can make other arrangements. Enter one not so lovely housekeeper, 2 distrusting children, multiple ghosts, a slimy newsreporter, a crazy mother, and a haunted house with a personality of it's own. Of course the outcome is predictable, but that doesn't stop the fun.
Sashana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you¿ve read Cruise¿s previous works then you will not be disappointed in this one. This was typical Jennifer Cruise genius, filled with believable, funny, and tender characters. It surprised me that this book included ghost, something completely unique for Cruise. I thought it would be your run of the mill contemporary romance but I was pleasantly surprised.After being divorced for 10 years, Andie visits her ex husband, North, to inform him of her upcoming nuptials and to return years of alimony checks. North surprises Andie with an offer she cannot refuse, $10, 000 a month to look after his orphaned cousins, to which Andie grudgingly accepts. Of course there were all the makings of a good ghost story; Creepy house (check!), strange housekeeper (check!), stranger kids (check!), unexplained phenomena (check and check!). Andie feels like she¿s losing her mind so she calls for reinforcement. What happens next is for you to find out; I promise you won¿t be disappointed :)
dbhutch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story with many twists and turns ... it has hate, humor, death,love,loss, children and ghosts all in it In this story Andie goes to see her ex-husband to give him back every alomoney check he has ever written her, before she gets married. When she is there he has a favor to ask of her. He has been left two small children and a large old house int he southern part of Ohio and he wants Andie to go there and convince the children to move up north to Columbus where he lives. She agrees to go for one month... and that's when her life is changed for ever and everything she disbelieved bout ghost is true.
reneebooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read many books by Crusie and this one is not her best but still enjoyable. While I wasn't that crazy about the ghost storyline, I loved the characters and the witty dialogue and humor. No one does humor like Crusie who has a real gift for it. Andie was an interesting heroine with lots of sass and didn't take any guff from people or ghosts. She "healed" the children in her charming way without being sappy or sickly sweet. North was harder to figure out until after he shows up after the seance. The seance was a great scene but I sort of lost interest in all the antics of the ghosts after that and thought it dragged a bit. The storyline could be tightened up in the second half, but still a fun read overall.
sdbookhound on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As far as Jennifer Crusie's books go, I either LOVE them or ...NOT. This was definately a Not. I found myself skimming a lot. I wanted more romance and less ghosts. I will probably still check out her new books looking for the LOVE factor in the future.
jayble on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have yet to read a book by Jennifer Crusie that I didn't like. The extra additions of ghosts make it an even more compelling read. Normally, I am not a big fan of a hero and heroine who have already screwed up their relationship so much that divorce has either occurred or is about to occur, but somehow I liked these characters and cared about their relationship anyway. Only a Jennifer Crusie novel could be so well written.Crusie brings her trademark humor as well as her wonderful characters to life in this book. While romance readers may want much more romance in their novels, I felt this book was more about the characters. Characters who happen to be dealing with many issues, not just issues of the heart.I think that this is one of her better books, but with Jennifer Crusie, all of her books are fantastic. I highly recommend this fun, supernatural romance novel.
amanderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a solid entry into the Crusie list. Not one of her finest, but still pretty charming, and better than the ones she has co-authored with the Bob guy, for my taste. Hurray to a solo Crusie book. This was a typically intelligent, humorous, light read with sympathetic characters and some romance. This one centers on ghosts, unusual for Crusie. The main character, Andie, is asked by her ex-husband (one of the romantic interests) to temporarily caretake his wards, a couple of kids of his cousin's. The kids have already driven off three nannies. When she arrives at their large house, she finds the house is a mess, there's an odd elderly housekeeper, the kids are delinquent but lovable kids and appear to be frightened of something(s), and Andie keeps having weird dreams. Supernatural highjinks ensue. The romance in this one was not as fully developed as in her other solo works, but that's fine by me.
hmmn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cute story. A romance that doesn't seem as formulaic as the rest. . .
amf0001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hot FarceI liked this a lot better than Crusie's recent collaberations, so much happier with this. I loved how Crusie used Andie's ghost induced dreams to get us to feel her connection with North, and how North's flaws became strengths over the course of the book. I didn't even mind the ghosts, I felt much more comfortable with this supernatural element than with the demons in Wild Ride. I was just surprised that North let it all drag on for 10 years! I liked the teasing referrals to the McKenna's detective agency (from Fast Women) though the brief return of Gabe wasn't enough, I would have loved to see more of him (he's one of my all time fav Crusie men!)
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Engaged to be married, Andie wants to cut all ties with a very brief marriage ten years past. Ex-husband North needs something, too - his two wards need a new nanny. And Andie walks in the door at a very opportune moment. A very pleasant surprise - Carter and Alice are very believable children, and Andie and North and the whole rest of the odd cast of characters Crusie's created are a riot.