"Maybe This Time" by Jennifer Crusie
is a paranormal romance, a genre Ms. Crusie occasionally uses with her own particular flair. The first few pages of "Maybe This Time" introduce you to Andromeda "Andie" Miller and North Archer, whom she divorced ten years previously. Despite the separation and even Andie's engagement to another man, it is immediately apparent that these two still haven't come to any sort of closure after the end of their marriage. An impulse backed by desperation leads North to ask his ex-wife to become a nanny to two children left to him after the death of a distant cousin. The little terrors have already gotten rid of three previous nannies, and North needs them to be cared for until the children can be moved from their home to his. In accepting the temporary position, Andie finds more than half-starved and neglected children in an old house where the dead cling aggressively to life. Especially life that isn't their own.
The refreshing thing about this book, and what makes it notable in its particular genre, is that the actions and reactions to the haunting are more realistic than what I tend to expect. Andie responds much like I could imagine myself responding to the things she discovers in the house, but that made her likable rather than too predictable. In the same way, despite how North's character may tend towards the stereotype of the workaholic, Ms. Crusie makes him a fully developed personality. In addition, the way certain paranormal aspects of the novel are described verges on the uncanny, and these aspects unfold with commendable pacing. The unpredictable twists and turns of the novel as well as its distinct style makes "Maybe This Time" a worthwhile and enjoyable read in its genre, even if reading about the paranormal isn't really your thing.
--Lindsay, Jamestown Bluffs Branch