Maybe This Time

Maybe This Time - Jennifer Crusie Both surprisingly enjoyable and unsettlingly creepy, Maybe This Time is one of the most intelligently told and enjoyable ghost stories I've come across. Set in the nineties, Andromeda "Andie" Archer does a favor for her ex-husband, to go to "the wilds of southern Ohio" to a haunted house and domesticate the two children living there. Of course there's old history ("ghosts" if you'll excuse the horrible pun) from her past relationship with North complicating an already entangled mess.Andie is likable, capable and above all, warm. She's funny, with a dry wit and little to no tolerance for bullshit. She changes from a very independent woman who is constantly looking for something/somewhere new into a devoted and loving mother-figure for the two tormented children. Alice, the younger child, is the more obviously affected by the ghosts. One in particular is possessive of her and violent towards any interference. Alice was, either intentionally or unintentionally, the funniest person in the novel. She's often "outraged" in the way only a child can be when they realize they don't always get what they want. She's a very emotional and vulnerable little girl, so it makes sense that she's very attached to her brother Carter, and eventually Andie. Carter himself is a cipher most of the novel. He's been through so much anguish and internal pain since the death of his mother, then his father, his aunt and a nanny that he has almost completely withdrawn from verbal communication besides Alice. He's utterly devoted and protective towards her, and I was always curious to know more about the hidden undercurrents going on around him.The pacing is wonderful and builds like a ghost story should be retold. At first there's hints and vague movements but as it get creepier and the multiple ghosts more malevolent, the pages fly by and the plot races on to a very riveting conclusion. Highly enjoyable.