Maybe This Time
by Jennifer Crusie
Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiance 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 fiance 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…
Then her ex-brother-in-law arrives with a duplicitous journalist and a self-doubting parapsychologist, closely followed by an annoyed medium, Andie’s tarot card–reading mother, her avenging ex-mother-in-law, and her jealous fiancé. Just when Andie’s sure things couldn’t get more complicated, North arrives to make her wonder if maybe this time things could just turn out differently….
It may seem strange to categorize this story as "Historical Fiction," but as you learn before the story starts, it takes place in 1992. "Because." In other words, no cell phones, no instant internet access - it's practically foreign territory nowadays! While this may be a ghost story, the real story is that of a woman trying to take care of, and then loving, two orphaned children. So maybe the fact that these kids are haunted by some disturbing ghosts mixes up this plot a bit, but it was the children that I found most compelling. And then there's the basic romantic element as our heroine Andie (short for Andromeda - her mom was either a hippie or just hippie like, I don't recall the particulars) has to contend with her fiance and the ex-husband she still has feelings for.
I often pick up Crusie titles, looking for a repeat of Agnes and the Hitman - one of my favorite books. This book contains Crusie's trade-mark humor, but it does seem to have a touch more seriousness than some of her other titles (and isn't quite as fantastic as Agnes). That may just be because children are involved in the dramatic bits, which makes it seem more serious. I don't know. But I loved it, all the same! Recommended.