Jennifer Crusie has written a new solo novel, Maybe This Time, and it is exquisite. Absolutely. Pinky swear.
I read the novel in one sitting and didn't even complain when I had to get up at six a.m after falling asleep at 2 a.m. In fact I couldn't write this post until I'd waited a week or two to let the story be fully absorbed. It was so good I had to let it stew for a while.
It is a lush, fast moving story that gives more than a passing nod to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. Just think contemporary Gothic as you crack those pages. I swear, Crusie is a damn genius.
The setting is a creepy old mansion set in Southern Ohio, in the year 1992, and features all of the Gothic elements I love. You've got the house, the housekeeper, the two rather odd children, the nanny, and then all of the weird and wonderful secondary characters. Throw in the twist that the nanny is the ex-wife of the children's uncle, and the two (who divorced after a whirlwind marriage) are still in love with each other. Well, they are...they just don't know it yet. It's such a feast. Then for a side dish you have a nymphomaniac ghost, hee hee, and a darling middle aged doubting parapsychologist, a crazy mother, an ice queen of a mother-in-law, and did I mention ghosts? And seances?
It's just...well...it's just classic Crusie. I know it has a cast of thousands but they are all so well drawn, and so necessary to the story, and the writing is exquisite. Did I say that already? The romance is subtle and takes a back seat to other elements, but it is still there and the story comes to a highly satisfying ending. Go buy it. You won't be sorry.