The House on Tradd Street – Karen White

Title: The House on Tradd Street
Author: Karen White
ISBN: 0451225090
Pages: 352
Release Date: November 4, 2008
Genre: Mystery
Review: Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours
Rating: ***** (out of 5)

From the back cover:

Practical-minded realtor Melanie Middleton hates to admit – even to herself – that she can see ghosts. But she’s going to have to accept it because an old man she met just days ago has died, leaving Melanie his historic Tradd Street home, complete with a housekeeper, a dog, and a family of ghosts anxious to tell her something…

Enter Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries. He has reason to believe that some diamonds went missing from the Confederate treasury a century ago are hidden in Melanie’s home. So he decides to charm the new tenany, only to discover that suddenly he is the smitten one.

But it turns out that Jack’s search has caught the attention of a possibly malevolent ghostly presence. Now Jack and Melanie need to unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak and even murder. And they must hurry…for an evil force – either dead or alive – lies in wait.

As you can probably tell by the rating, I enjoyed The House on Tradd Street immensely. First of all, the setting was wonderful. I was in Charleston, SC last year, and White really has a way of making the setting come alive. Her descriptions are vivid, and she manages to convey a sense of grandeur and history, coupled with the haunting quality that comes with these old houses. I thought she did a magnificent job with the setting.

The characters are definitely well-written. The reader can really understand Melanie’s need to control everything around her and her feelings towards her parents. However, she is not intransigent or annoyingly stubborn; it is wonderful to watch her relationship with her father heal throughout the book. Indeed, she evolves quite a bit as a character, and it is a satisfying journey to watch. Jack is a great character as well; he is obviously damaged, but manages to hide it incredibly well with his charm and good looks. It is obvious from the beginning of the book that these two are made for each other, but it’s not annoyingly predictable.

And finally, the mystery. This had me on the edge of my seat, reading frantically in an effort to finish the book before class (I knew that if I didn’t, I would end up skipping class to discover what happens to Melanie, Jack, and the house on Tradd Street). It really is that captivating. It unfolds very slowly; the reader is at the middle of the book by the time the real mystery is actually uncovered. Sometimes, this might be frustrating, but in The House on Tradd Street, that is not the case. Instead, it serves as a reminder that the mystery of Louisa’s disappearance is the underlying story to the novel and is one of the reasons that Melanie agreed to take the house. The fact that Melanie can see ghosts is also an interesting addition to the story. It can be disturbing and downright scary at times, but it is handled incredibly well, without any cheesiness.

The only disappointment in this book is that it ended. However, this was tempered by the fact that, upon turning the last page, I read the surprising and heartwarming words that read, “Melanie Middleton and Jack Trenholm will be back for a new adventure – turn the page for an exciting preview of their book, coming from New American Library in November 2009.” Just one more year. I can’t wait!

A big thank you to Pump Up Your Book Promotion Blog Tours for sending me this wonderful book to read.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the lovely review! You hit on all the points that I attempted to get across to my readers–that this book is in many ways a mystery, but its primary focus is the characters and how they grow and learn and change from the first page to the last.

    I’m writing the sequel now (entitled THE GIRL ON LEGARE STREET) and I’m having so much fun with Jack and Melanie–I hope I get to write more books in this series!

  2. Wow. I’ve got my copy and will posting a review soon. Waiting to get tours off this morning so I can jump in my tbr pile, but I specifically asked for this book. One, I love Karen White. Fantastic author. But two, I love southern women’s fiction. I’m trying to hurry now and get promo done so I can go on and start on it. I. Cannot. Wait.

  3. I am currently reading this book, which will be touring my blog with Karen White on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11! I am excited. I have to say it is hard to put the book down and get to bed…so I can function at 5am for work!

  4. I loved this book! Actually, today I received a postcard about it in the mail and I thought, “Gee, is there a way I can clear my “to be reviewed” pile so that I can read it again?

    One of the best books I’ve ever read!

    Cheryl

  5. Hi, Cheryl–

    I’m blushing–but I’m thrilled to know you enjoy the book so much. I have to admit that I haven’t had as much fun writing a book as I did with TRADD STREET. And don’t forget that the sequel comes out next November!!

  6. Glad to know this is a great book! I will be reading it soon for my tour date later this month. Great review!

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  7. I am so looking forward to reading this book!

  8. What a great review – this one sounds like one I will definitely enjoy. Ghost stories, with a mystery, and I loved your points about the writing!

  9. My review for this one will go up tomorrow. I liked it was well, although perhaps not as enthusiastically as you did. :-) The setting was amazing for this book–very well suited for a ghost story.

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