>> Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
Series: #1 in the Tradd Street series
Publication Date: 2008
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #38
The Short Version:
A little bit of romance, a little bit of mystery, a little bit of ghost story, a little bit of historical fiction all set in Charleston, South Carolina (one of my favorite cities).
Why I Read It:
This book has been on my TBR list for almost two years but it seemed like everyone I knew was reading and posting about it so I decided to wait. The time finally seemed right so I checked it out from the library.
Melanie Middleton is a no-nonsense realtor in Charleston, SC. Her specialty is historic homes even though she doesn’t like them herself. When you can see ghosts, hanging around historic places can be disconcerting. When Melanie visits Nevin Vanderhorst about the possibility of listing his historic Charleston home, he’s not willing to commit, but hints to Melanie that he might be interested.
When Mr. Vanderhorst suddenly dies, Melanie finds herself the unwilling owner of the Vanderhorst home on Tradd Street and bound by the terms of the will to restore it and live in it for a year. Along with the home, Melanie has inherited a mystery of what happened to Mr. Vanderhorst’s mother and did she really abandon him as a child to run off with a lover? Perhaps there’s another reason she disappeared?
When Jack Trenholm offers to help Melanie manage the restoration project he has his own agenda. He wants to write his next book about the disappearance of Louisa Vanderhorst and hopes to find the answers to that mystery and others as they undertake the restoration of the house.
The many secrets of the house are both guarded and shared by the ghosts that Melanie can see, and the front door is actually a bit of an entertaining character all by itself.
I have a predisposition to like books set in Charleston. My brother was stationed there for several years when he was in the navy and I was in college. My mom also lived there for a short time so it’s a city I visited several times and enjoy tremendously. It’s a beautiful historic city and I’d love to get back there for a visit some day.
I liked this book because it wasn’t all any one genre. There’s a bit of historic fiction and ghost story wrapped up in a modern day mystery and a bit of romantic comedy as well.
While I enjoyed the book, there were plenty of unrealistic coincidences and things that were sort of built up, but left hanging. I’m not sure why the golf obsession of the occasionally appearing receptionist was even part of the story, and Melanie was the kind of main character that I wanted to slap occasionally, but all in all it’s a book that I could just ‘go with the flow’ and enjoy. I do plan on reading the next in this series (The Girl on Legare Street) as well as Karen White’s newest (On Folly Beach). As I said, I have a hard time resisting books set in Charleston.