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Return to Tradd Street Paperback – January 7, 2014
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“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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For those new to the series, definitely start at the beginning – these books all build off of each other.
I loved the first three books in this series and was looking forward to finding out how it all ends. I read the first two books years ago and then read the third (The Strangers on Montagu Street) and fourth back to back recently. I’ll talk about this more in a minute, but I think reading the final two books back to back absolutely affected my opinion of the story, and Melanie in particular.
Every book in the series includes a romantic and a mystery element, with the mystery involving the ghosts that inhabit historic Charleston homes. I loved Return to Tradd Street‘s mystery, but wasn’t as keen on this installment’s romantic element. This mystery was fairly complicated – I had to read over the “here it is on a silver platter” explanation TWICE before I fully understood it. But, this is a good thing, because Montagu Street‘s mystery was a bit simplistic and I easily figured it out on my own. Even after it was solved, this mystery left me with a real dilemma about the honorable course of action, which added depth to the book.
On to Melanie…WOW, did she ever drive me crazy in this book!! Her stubbornness and insistence on avoiding things (even really important things, like going to the doctor when you’re pregnant!) really made me dislike her in this book. She started to rub me the wrong way towards the end of Montagu Street and then it just snowballed in Return to Tradd Street…I think because I read the last two books back to back. Apparently, Melanie tries my patience so much that I need a break from her between books! My frustration with Melanie’s avoidance issues was also the reason I wasn’t as keen on this installment’s romantic element, but I don’t want to ruin the story by saying anymore than that.
Despite my annoyance with Melanie in this book, I liked the ending to the series and particularly loved this installment’s mystery. The whole series is a great choice if you’re looking for a light, quirky read!
Had I need less annoyed with Melanie, this would have been a 5 star review!
For more reviews, check out my blog, Sarah's Book Shelves.
I am normally quite interested in White’s writing and the manner in which she forms her story and even though this book did not strike my fancy, I am familiar enough with White’s books and her writing style that she will continue to be a favorite author and should there be a fifth in the series, I’ll certainly read it.
Other books that I've read and enjoyed by Karen White are:
THE MEMORY OF WATER
THE BEACH TREES
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Mellie has inherited a beautiful stately old Charleston home, as well as a housekeeper, and a dog named General Lee from Nevin Vanderhorst after only meeting him once. She is a realtor that specializes in old homes, and she met him to discuss putting his house on the market. She is pregnant and has told the father Jack Trenholm she won’t marry him. Jack has a teenaged daughter, a talented musician, who has the typical teenage clashes with her dad. Nola and Mellie have bonded, and Mellie often finds herself in the role of “mother”.
The story was fantastic. I could hardly put it down. There are several conflicts in the story that Mellie needs to solve. Mysteriously, she hears a baby crying while in her house. Is she in love with Jack? Will she get to retain ownership of the house? Does she even want the house? How will she and Jack work out the details of parenthood after the baby is born? There is a lot of action to keep you turning the pages.
The characters were fascinating. Do Mellie and her mother have psychic powers? Can anyone be as handsome as Jack? The Gilberts come into the story, and in the beginning I disliked them, but as Mellie learned more about them and came to like them herself, so did I. Sophie, Mellie’s best friend, has a very colorful way of dressing, not at all stylish, but is what everyone wants in a friend. I could describe these characters and more in greater detail, but I don’t want to spoil the book for other readers.
This is the first book by Karen White that I’ve read, and it definitely won’t be the last. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romance with a bit of a mystery as well.
As usual, Karen is at the top of her game. This series just tickles my fancy. I love the southern setting. I used to live in the south and when I read about it, I miss it. I love The Tradd street series with its mystery, humor, ghosts and just a pinch of sexual tension that is so refreshing!!
All of Karen's book are wonderful reads, I will continue to be excited every time I see she has a new one coming out.
Top international reviews
In Return to Tradd Street, White brings closure for Melanie and Jack. I confess, I was upset with her ending in The Strangers on Montagu Street; however, I totally expected Melanie would next be seen valiantly bringing up baby and continuing as a successful liberated woman. The only point that still disturbs me is: when Melanie tells Jack she loves him (at last) in the Montagu book, he responds "I'm sorry," WHY? When he appears as the devoted expectant father in Return Tradd Street, something just did not fit.
This series, this book is definitely recommended!