Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Maybe This Time, Jennifer Crusie

Author: Jennifer Crusie
Published: 2010, St. Martin's Press
Category: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 7.5/10

Jennifer Crusie is one of my all-time favorite authors, and we have been waiting a looong time for a solo book from her. She's been co-authoring books, but it's been years since we got an all-Crusie book. I should have been counting down the hours until this was published - but what with all my crazy summer, I'd pretty much forgotten about it. Until the other day I was browsing through my library's new books, and I saw it on the shelf! A loud gasp escaped me as I snatched it off the shelf and held it up like the holy grail. The little undergraduate next to me gave me a funny look. But that's okay. I took it home and had a lovely Saturday, reading all day long stretched out on the couch.

Andie Miller is ready to get engaged, but before she can go through with it she feels like she needs some closure with her ex-husband. So she visits him to return years of uncashed alimony checks. He's having a slight crisis -- he's become the guardian of some young cousins and he needs someone to take care of them. He offers to pay Andie a boatload of money to go out to their house in rural Ohio and see what's what. Andie's got a soft heart (plus she could really use that money), so she accepts. What she finds is an ancient, dirty, creepy house, a hostile and weird housekeeper, and two seriously messed up kids. It comes out that the house is haunted -- so not only does Andie need to help these troubled children, she also has to figure out how to exorcise some ghosts. And decide if she's still in love with her ex-husband.

This was a good read, though I don't think it'll be a favorite Crusie. It had many of the things that I love about Crusie's books: an extremely likable heroine, funny dialogue, and complex relationships that really seem genuine (Andie's relationship with Alice is especially well done). The love story is classic Crusie and very satisfying.

What didn't sit so well with me is the ghostly aspects of the book. It's not something Crusie has done before, and I'm just not sure it works for me. This may be just a personal thing -- I'm really not a fan of ghost stories. But the combination of light romantic comedy and dark, gothic thriller seemed an uncomfortable mix -- it wasn't scary enough to be a serious ghost story, but the ghost story was serious enough to make it certainly out of the realm of light comedy.

Still, it's a Crusie book, so I have no reason to complain. I plowed through it in a day and it was a highly enjoyable day. Here's hoping she writes many more. :)


Marg said...

I am waiting to get this from my library, but I am looking forward to it for no other reason than it is a solo Crusie effort. It has been far too long since there has been one of those.

nath said...

Wow, you were lucky to be able to snatch it from the shelves! I think most places, it would be reserved with a line-up.

I got this book last week, but still haven't gotten around to read it yet. But I'm glad the reviews are positive :)

Mollie said...

I enjoyed this one a lot, finally another Crusie! Definitely not my all time favorite but I actually enjoyed the ghost story. I actually went to one of her book signings and she discussed how this was her version of the Turn of the Screw. It was pretty interesting! She's a funny lady!

Jennie said...

Mollie -- I'd read that this was her take on Turn of the Screw -- and I honestly can't remember if I've ever read it. Maybe in high school, but that was a long time ago.

I'd love to go to a Crusie signing -- I bet she is funny.