The House on Tradd Street by Karen White is a book right up my alley full of paranormal happenings! I love a good ghost story and The House on Tradd Street certainly doesn’t disappoint. I have really come to enjoy novels by Karen White and there’s a good reason – her stories grab you and keep you flipping through those pages in a big hurry!
The House on Tradd Street has it all; a mystery, a romance, ghosts and seeing dead people. It just doesn’t get any better than that for me. Melanie Middleton sells real estate, specifically historical homes and she has her eye on the one on Tradd Street. Melanie makes an appointment to stop in to visit Mr. Vanderhorst to discuss his house. He’s not really interested in discussing the house but he is interested in knowing whether or not Melanie saw the woman in the garden. She doesn’t want to admit it but she does – yes she saw her. Mr. Vanderhorst tells her that this lady only appears to people she approves of.
You see Melanie sees dead people much as she hates to say so. She has since she was a little girl and it seems to run in the family. Old Mr. Vanderhorst, a few days later, passes away and for some reason leaves the house on Tradd Street to Melanie. She doesn’t want that old house. Yes she sells them for a living but she’s never been interested in owning one. They always come with too many memories and ghosts.
Melanie figures she can just sell the house, but no, it’s not going to be that easy. Mr. Vanderhorst has stipulated that Melanie has to occupy the house for a year and in that year, restore the house. This is definitely not what Melanie had in mind but finally she is convinced and the work begins. Not only that but the ghosts of the house begin in earnest to try and tell Melanie their story and Melanie knows that there is an important one to be told having to do with the house on Tradd Street. Melanie is set on a sometimes harrowing journey to uncover old family secrets and disappearances of people from long ago. Along the way she has the help of her friend Sophie and a man she’d rather not be attracted to – Jack.
Melanie is a great character and I really liked her. She’s funny and witty and had me laughing more than once especially when she’s bickering with Jack who she refuses to admit she might like just a little bit. One other thing I really liked in the novel was the healing of Melanie’s relationship with her father. He hadn’t always been around for Melanie growing up but as this story progresses and truths come out, the relationship between the two begins to heal and go forward.
The ghost scenes are great. There were a few times my heart was pounding as a scene would play out. This book isn’t horror scary though, just creepy scary. You know the thought of ghosts being around you – that kind of creepy. The descriptions of Charleston and the old houses though is something I really enjoyed. I’d love to visit one day and if I had the money I certainly wouldn’t turn down an old historic house to restore!
I have a few favorite quotes from this novel…
- ‘Because a garden is the heart of a house, where love is the seed and the dark earth like a mother who nurtures her saplings until they bloom, and then waits for them with furrowed arms to return.’ (pg 127)
- ‘The Louisa rosebushes hung heavy with giant scarlet blooms, dotting the border behind the fountain like drops of blood on a white handkerchief.’ (pg 188)
- ‘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.’ (pg 185/186)
So, needless to say I did enjoy this book and the best part is that there is a sequel, The Girl on Legare Street, which I’m just starting to read now. You can buy The House on Tradd Street here in the US and here in Canada. Be sure to visit Karen White’s website as well!
Check out another review over at Lit and Life…
To myself. The House on Tradd Street was purchased by yours truly and came from my leaning bookshelves.