Last week I finally spent part of my Christmas Amazon gift certificate. After a month of changing my basket every few days (failing to decide what I most wanted) I impulsively bought a modern romance, something I haven’t done in years. I’d read an interview with the author, Jennifer Crusie, about her latest novel ‘Maybe Next Time’ and went off to Amazon to see if I’d like it. In the first few free pages she’d made me laugh and empathize so I bought it before I changed my basket-mind again.
Last night I cracked open my brand new hard cover (I thought I was buying an expensive paper back) and stayed up all night reading it. It’s a paranormal romance or ghost story. If you’ve been haunting my blog a while you may have gathered I do love a good ghost story. The hero and heroine have been divorced ten years (after a year of marriage) when the story starts. It’s obvious they never stopped loving each other, not that they were good at communicating (obviously or they would never have divorced in the first place). It begins with Andromeda, the heroine, returning a wad of uncashed alimony checks to her ex-husband, North Archer. She’s thinking of getting married (to this other guy) and wants North to stop sending reminders that he was once a part of her life. North in turn impulsively asks her to help him out; he has inherited the wardship of two emotionally disturbed children. The nannies won’t stay because the house is haunted and the kids are weird etc. He offers to pay his ex-wife $10,000 a month to go down to this Gothic horror house and sort out the children. She accepts and until 194 pages into the book the hero and heroine only communicate over the phone while he stays in his office and she’s with the weird kids and the ghosts. We know how each are feeling, but they don’t.
Reviewing the book for Amazon I gave it 2 stars which sounds bitchy considering I was enjoying the book until page 194 when the hero finally joins the heroine at the haunted house. I was really looking forward to reading about the two properly meeting up and having some time to redefine their feelings into a relationship, but no. He steps into chaos and it remains chaotic to the end. There’s no real hero and heroine time. I hate that! You may not love all my stories (or any of them), but no one can say my heroes and heroines don’t get any “couple time” to develop something more than lust. Couple time to me (feel free to disagree) means time spent talking or doing things without other characters dead or alive, getting in the way.
The ghosts weren’t very creepy, but the author is funny and she did make me laugh. However, the sex scene in the kitchen made me mad. I started to read it thinking the hero was possessed because he was acting SO strange and out of character. Any minute I expected the heroine to push him away or slap him back to his senses, but no they made love in an unlocked kitchen in the middle of the day in a house full of people including a traumatized 8 year old girl (who spent a lot of time in the kitchen). That scene ruins the book for me. Maybe if there hadn’t been children in the house (it’s a big house), but I can’t believe two sensible adults caring for two traumatized children (children who’ve been through hell) would be so stupid and selfish as to risk traumatizing them further. Yes its fiction, and maybe I need anti-anxiety medication, but still…would you do that?
It could have been such a great romance. After finishing the Amazon review I have to admit that if I’d borrowed ‘Maybe Next Time’ from a library I’d have given it 3 and a half stars because I enjoyed those first 194 pages, but because I bought it full price in hardback it only gets 2! It makes me wonder how many books I’ve borrowed from the library I would have thought rubbish if I’d bought them or liked more if I’d borrowed them. Have you read it? What do you think?
Something creepy did happen this morning while I was finishing the book…at one point I had to put the book down to go do something and in an otherwise empty silent house (with closed draft-free windows)…I heard the chair in my husband’s office squeaking…as if someone had sat back in it. There was no one there! I went in and scowled at the chair hoping any uninvited guest would feel so unwanted they’d depart and went back to finish my book.