Title: The Girl on Legare Street
Author: Karen White
Release Date: November 3, 2009
Publisher: NAL Trade
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
Karen White returns to the characters introduced in The House on Tradd Street for another spine tingling mystery. This time, Melanie’s mother (who abandoned her when she was seven years old) has returned to Charleston, and though Melanie wants nothing to do with her, it doesn’t look like she’s going to get her way. After all, Melanie inherited her ability to see and communicate with ghosts from her mother, and it seems that the ghosts are acting up again. This time, it’s a malevolent force that seems to be fixed on Melaine. Together, along with the deliciously irritating Jack Trenholm, Melanie and her mother must figure out who the ghost is and why it wants to hurt Melanie.
The House on Tradd Street was one of my favorite reads in 2008, so my expectations for The Girl on Legare Street were incredibly high. I didn’t know how Karen White (who is one of my favorite authors – see my reviews of The Lost Hours, The Memory of Water and The Color of Light) could even come close to what I wanted this book to be – yet somehow she beat my expectations. I can’t say enough amazing things about her and the amazingness that is The Girl on Legare Street.
The best part of The Girl on Legare Street is the mystery, along with the ghost story aspect. While this is by no means a scary book, it is definitely haunting. It’s not a book to read by yourself on a dark and stormy night (or maybe it is, if you enjoy that sort of thing). White is very careful not to turn the ghosts into something cliché or cheesy. They make the novel deliciously creepy.
The mystery is incredibly intriguing. Like the best mysteries, it was carefully constructed and well-written. White clearly thought it through before putting pen to paper; when Melanie and Jack are trying to figure out what is happening, they peel back each carefully crafted layer of the mystery, only to find something even more puzzling underneath. The suspense in this novel is absolutely wonderful and really keeps the reader hooked.
Melanie and Jack were as wonderful as ever in The Girl on Legare Street. Part of the reason I have enjoyed these novels so much is because I adore the character of Melanie. She can be difficult and frustrating, but she is real. When I opened this novel, it felt like I was revisiting with an old friend. I loved learning more about her and her history. Additionally, the chemistry between Melanie and Jack was absolutely delicious – part of me wanted them to get it over with and just admit that they’re in love, but I also enjoy the teasing and tension that comes from not. It says something when characters are so well written that you genuinely care about them and think about them after the novel has ended.
You don’t have to read The House on Tradd Street to enjoy and appreciate The Girl on Legare Street. Karen White does a marvelous job of both informing new readers and reminding returning readers of what happened in that book. However, I still highly recommend that readers pick up The House on Tradd Street first. The fact is, it’s an amazing book that you shouldn’t miss, and you will also miss out on some great character development if you don’t read it.
I can’t praise Karen White or The Girl on Legare Street enough. I’ve read a lot of her books, and I highly recommend each and every one of them. She consistently delivers entertaining and well-written reads that are completely addicting. I already cannot wait to read her next novel.