Thursday, November 1, 2012

Classic or Crusie?

We love ghost stories. Oh, the spine-chilling thrill of it all! You know the elements of a great ghost story: spooky mansion, lonely governess, strange children, and things that go bump in the night. Henry James wrote The Turn of the Screw in 1898. I love this tale, but of course I am one of those librarian types who love the classics. I would highly recommend this story. OK, so if you do not want to read it -- at least watch the movie.

Jennifer Crusie's humorous take on this classic ghost tale is Maybe This Time. This book contains all the same elements of the Henry James story: a spooky isolated mansion, a conflicted nanny, orphaned brother and sister with issues, detached yet charming guardian, a maniacal housekeeper, and an evil ghost named Peter.  Crusie's version of this tale also includes a large cast of quirky characters and some spicy romance.
Andromeda Miller is coerced by her ex-husband, North Archer, to assess the situation of his two young recently orphaned wards. He is much too busy to be bothered, however the nannies he has hired have all quit quickly and tell disturbing tales. The children, Alice and Carter, live in the Archer ancestral home, an isolated mansion in southern Ohio. Andie finds the brother and sister malnourished and frightened. One might think this is simply the classic tale retold, however throw into this mix a newscaster, a jilted fiance, a skeptical parapsychologist, a camera man, Isolde the medium, Andie's tarot reading mother, an ex-brother-in-law, and a very needy ghost named May, and the frolic begins.

So you can decide. Do you want to read a classic or Crusie?

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