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The House on Tradd Street Paperback – November 4, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In this engaging novel from Southern novelist White (The Memory of Water), buttoned-up real estate agent Melanie Middleton, lover of order and all things modern, inherits an old house in Charleston, S.C., from a virtual stranger. Melanie can't help seeing the house as a big white elephant, especially regarding the terms; according to the will, Melanie's required to live in the house for a year, restoring it to its former glory, before she can sell so much as a piece of china. But as the house draws the attention (and ulterior motives) of a colorful group of locals, particularly GQ-handsome journalist Jack Trenholm, Melanie finds she has plenty of volunteers to help out. White skillfully balances her tale at the meeting point of romance, mystery and ghost story. The supernatural elements are not played for scares, but instead refine and reveal Melanie's true character; Melanie and Jack flirt with sparkling, snarky energy, but White also digs deeper, giving Melanie a tragic past that's handled with compassion and realism. A fun and satisfying read, this series kickoff should hook a wide audience. (Nov.)
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Praise for New York Times bestselling author Karen White
“There is a rhythm to the writing of Karen White. It has a pace, a beat, a cadence that is all its own.”—The Huffington Post
“White’s dizzying carousel of a plot keeps those pages turning, so much so that the book can [be]—and should be—finished in one afternoon, interrupted only by a glass of sweet iced tea.”—Oprah.com
“White captures the true essence of Charleston by intertwining the sights and smells of the historic town with an enchanting story filled with ghostly spirits, love, and forgiveness…a once-in-a-lifetime series.”—Fresh Fiction
“This is storytelling of the highest order: the kind of book that leaves you both deeply satisfied and aching for more.”—Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of Tiny Little Thing
“Readers will find White’s prose an uplifting experience as she is a truly gifted storyteller.”—Las Vegas Review-Journal
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As she begins to restore the home, with the assistance of Jack Trenholm who is a writer in need of a book idea, her best friend Sophie who is a quirky college professor whose specialty is old Charleston homes, and Chad who is one of her clients looking for a house.
Trying to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Louisa Vanderhorst leads to another mystery. A Vanderhorst ancestor might have hidden some Confederate diamonds somewhere in the house. Melanie could use the diamonds to help restore the house but a descendant of the man Louisa was supposed to have run off with - Marc Longo - is also on the hunt for the diamonds.
Besides ghosts, this book has tangled family relationships. Melanie's father, who turned to alcohol when Melanie's mother left, has been named the trustee of the money left to Melanie to restore the home. Melanie has long since learned that he could not be depended on. Also Melanie's mother has been trying to contact her but Melanie has written her out of her life.
This was an excellent and spooky mystery with a great setting and intriguing characters.