Monday, December 20, 2010

Laugh Out Loud: Maybe This Time

Jennifer Crusie is a delight and a joy (most times), and Maybe This Time really delivers on her strengths.  The characters are real and lively, the story is fast and interesting, with a combination of slapstick and real jeopardy, and the writing is literally laugh-out-loud funny.  I attracted some funny looks at the airport while waiting for my kids' plane to take off because I kept chuckling while reading.
The romance itself is mostly foam, since the pair doesn't actually spend much time together, although they spend the first half of the book remembering each other and their brief marriage.  Crusie then packs the haunted house with a large cast of characters pinging off each other in predictable and surprising ways.  Crusie used Henry James's The Turn of the Screw as her inspiration (a book I read decades ago and have only the foggiest memory of), which gives it an extra intellectual spice.  Only Crusie looked at everything she found annoying about James's governess, and started with fixing that. The little girl is a bit too precious, and the brother doesn't get quite enough screen time, but mostly the book is just a fun way to spend some holiday time.  A

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