Friday, October 16, 2009

A Ghostly Mystery on Tradd Street

Karen White has won rave reviews for crafting a "powerfully emotional blend of family secrets. Lowcountry lore, and love." In her brand-new series, she brings us to Charleston, South Carolina and adds some magic and mystery to her well-loved mix.

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 that went missing from the Confederate treasury a century ago are hidden in Melanie's home. So he decides to charm the new tenant, 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.

Title: The House on Tradd Street
Author: Karen White
Series: Tradd Street, Book 1
Start & Finished: 4/1/09-4/2/09
Published: November 4, 2008
Publisher: New American Library
Pages: 329 (trade paperback)
Genre: Women’s Fiction- Southern/ Paranormal

Growing up, Karen White's family moved around a lot but her family was from the south (Mississippi to be exact) and she says that "the sights, smells, and accents of the South became for me what I identified with as home."* Little surprise that from her very first published book (a romance called In the Shadow of the Moon) to her latest, The House on Tradd Street; all are set in the south.

The House on Tradd Street is set in Charleston, South Carolina and has element generally associated with the south including an old antebellum house and even a ghost or two. However, the house in the story is the most important thing: "This house is more than brick, mortar, and lumber. It's a connection to the past and those who have gone before us. It's memories and belonging. It's a home that on the inside has seen the birth of children and the death of the old folks and the changing of the world from the outside. It's a piece of history you can hold in your hands." The previous owner Neville Vanderhorst said this and it nicely sums up the feel of the entire story.

In her own words Ms. White describes this book as “Sixth Sense meets Moonlighting” which is actually the very best way to explain it as the main character does see ghosts. In one part of the book Melanie remarks, “I turned my head away to stare out the window and at the old streets of the Holy city and wished, not for the first time, that dead people would just leave me alone.”

Any book that has ghosts in it tends to get my attention yet it’s the ones where the main characters (usually female) can see/ communicate with ghosts are the ones I have a penchant for enjoying. Ghosts aren’t the only interesting thing in this story! There’s also a some romantic interest and a neat cold case mystery for the heroine that I found intriguing too. Karen White has created a truly interesting character with Melanie Middleton and I look forward to reading more of her story in the sequel The Girl on Legare Street.

First Paragraph: Pewter reflections of scarlet hibiscus colored the dirt-smudged windows of the old house, like happy memories of youth trapped inside the shell of an old man. The broken pediments over the windows gave the house a permanent from, yet the leaf-filtered sun against the chipped Tower-of-the-Winds columns lining the side piazzas painted the house with hope. It was almost, I thought, as if the house were merely waiting for a miracle.

  • The entry for Karen White on Wikipedia is mostly a short biography and talks about an award she’s won.
  • A complete bibliography of Ms. White’s books is on Fantastic Fiction

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Bloggin' About Books*

Picture Explanations:
Mantle: Jack and Melanie find a cross-stitch sampler from 1849 behind a mantle in the house.
Tradd Street: This is a picture of the actual Tradd Street in South Carolina
The Wooden Swing: This ties partly into the reason why Neville left the house to Melanie.


  1. Sounds wonderfully atmospheric!

  2. Oooh...I had forgotten that I wanted to read this one. Great review and thanks for reminding me about it. It really sounds like something that I would enjoy!

  3. Sounds like a romantic version of Koontz's Odd Thomas series.

  4. This sounds very good! I like when ghosts are part of the main story too. And nice that theres romance in this.

  5. I read this one last year and enjoyed it, although didn't love it. I really like Karen's writing style and definitely would like to read more by her in the future.

    Great review, Jen!

  6. I've got a couple of Karen White's books and hope to read them soon. It sounds like she gets the South right, so I'm anxious to read them.

  7. I've this book in my pile and I look forward to reading it!

  8. Nymeth: It really does capture that southern feel!

    Samantha: I hope you get to read it soon! The next book comes out before too much longer.

    Paxton: I've heard of those but I haven't tried them before. There's actually less romance in this story than you would think though.

    Naida: I think there will be more romance in the next book.

    Wendy: I know you did lol, you're the one who made me want to read it!

    Bermudaonion: This was my first time reading her but I really, really enjoyed it.

    Melody: Looking forward to hearing what you think!

  9. I still need to get to this one! Your review is great..makes me want to move it up on my tbr even more.

  10. Sounds like one I would definitely enjoy, with the setting being so important to the story.

  11. I haven't heard of this one - sounds wonderful! One more for the list...

  12. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, too. I'll be reading The Girl on Legare Street soon. I look forward to your thoughts on that one as well. Thanks for linking to me!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  13. Kris: I'm looking forward to reading the sequel a lot. It was a great story!

    Carol: The setting helps set the mood for the entire story in my opinion. Hope you get a chance to read this.

    Darla D: Oh I know you'd like this one!

    Anna: You're welcome and thank you for the interview. I'm looking forward to getting a copy of the sequel soon too



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