Maybe Next Time by Jennifer Crusie (2010)

I picked up this romance novel at the library thinking, based on its cover, that it was Valentine’s Day themed. While it was a delightfully lively and romantic story, I had the wrong holiday…this novel takes place in a haunted house near Halloween and has almost as many characters who are ghosts as who are human. Whatever the holiday, it was a fun, fast read for those who love a good “finally ever after” story.


Andromeda “Andie” Miller walks into her workaholic ex-husband’s office one afternoon to return his alimony checks and make a clean break from him so she can marry her fiance with no baggage. To her shock her ex-husband, North Archer, offers her a $10,000 a month job helping to care for two children who recently were made his guardians. The children live in a remote village in a derelict house cared for only by an aging housekeeper. Reasoning that she can use the money to pay off her debts and pay for her new wedding she accepts.

Andie arrives to find the situation is far worse that she could have imagined. The house is close to uninhabitable; the housekeeper is a scary saboteur; and the the two children, Alice and Carter, neglected to the point of illness and resistant to any changes. The biggest shock to Andie, however, is not finding out that the house is haunted by malevolent ghosts who the children believe are violent… but finding out that she believes the children.

The situation with the children requires that Andie and her ex-husband must become closer than they have been in ten years in order to best care for the kids, which stirs up strong emotions for them both. Soon the stress of caring for the kids and the terror the haunted house begin to wear on her, and every night she dreams of North and the love they lost.

Alice and Carter, despite their resistance to Andie’s changes, begin to mean more to Andie than she could ever has imagined and she becomes frantic to get them out of the house where ghosts threaten their mental and physical well-being. The ghosts, however, begin to put up a fight to keep the children and Andie must call on not just her ex-husband, but her extended family and cast of goofy ghost-hunters.

The result is a heart-warming story about love — between Andie and North, but also between Andie and the children she comes to think of as her own — with a good dose of humor and a bit of a spooky ghost story mixed in for good measure.


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