A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, June 20, 2016

Spotlight on The Tradd Street Series by Karen White- Feature and Reviews

A brilliant, chilling d├ębut featuring a Charleston real estate agent who loves the histories inside old manors. Melanie Middleton hates to admit she can see ghosts. A man she recently met died, leaving his historic Tradd Street home; complete with a dog and family of ghosts anxious to tell their secrets. Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries, has reason to believe diamonds from the Confederate Treasury are hidden. He turns the charm on with Melanie, to discover he's the smitten one.  


The House on Tradd Street (Tradd Street, #1)The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The House on Tradd Street by Karen White is a 2008 NAL publication.

This year I have made some changes to my reading habits by cutting back on review copies, which can introduce me to new authors and genres, but can also cause me to miss out on some really good books, too.

Karen White is one of those authors that I have been missing out on and so I decided to get with the program and check out a few of her novels.

This book is the first in a four book series, set in Charleston, South Carolina.

Melanie is an obsessive compulsive, but very successful real estate agent, hoping to land the listing for an old, storied home in the area. But, when Melanie meets with the current owner, she feels a connection to the old man whose mother abandoned him as a child, like her mother abandoned her. But, the man believes his mother loved him and the house, which makes throws doubt on the rumors that she left her husband and child for another man.

While visiting the home, Melanie also discovers her sensitivity to the dead is very strong, when she sees a ghost or two. But, the real shock comes when the owner passes away suddenly and leaves the house, all its contents, and a sizable sum of money for repairs, to Melanie.


To make things more interesting, Melanie is contacted by a writer, Jack Trenholm, who claims to be writing a book about the house and the family who owned it all these years.

Although Melanie doesn’t really want to keep the house, especially since the will states she much reside there for one year before she can sell, she decides to meet the challenge and even allows Jack to stay on the premises while he does research for his book.

On a more personal note, Melanie is coping with her father’s alcoholism, hoping against hope he can stay sober this time around, even if she should know better by now.

Who are the ghost who live in the house on Tradd Street? Can Melanie solve a decades old mystery?
Can Jack be trusted or does he have his own agenda? Is Melanie in danger?

I have always enjoyed a good ghost story, if it’s done right, and this one measured up to my standards quite nicely. I love the southern setting, the rich historical details, and the charm of the old house Melanie inherited. The mystery ties in with Melanie’s own family in some ways and of course the circumstances provide Melanie’s father an opportunity to set some things right after all these years.

On occasion, the plot got a tad outrageous, and it did become a little too busy sometimes, with Jack’s backstory, Melanie’s romances, her father’s issues, the restorations, and of course the big mystery Melanie felt compelled to solve.

But, by the end of the story, many of these threads were sown up nicely, and the stage was set for the next book in the series, which I already have queued up and am looking forward to finding out what’s next for Melanie and what mysteries she will solve next.





 Melanie has grown accustomed to renovating old houses, but she never imagined she'd have to renovate her own life to include her estranged mother. Ginnette Prioleau Middleton left Charleston thirty-five years ago. She's returned wanting to protect the daughter she's never really known after receiving an ominous premonition.

Melanie never wanted to see her mother again, but with some prodding from her partner, Jack Trenholm, she agrees-and begins to rebuild their relationship. Together Melanie and Ginnette buy back their old home. With their combined psychic abilities they expect to unearth some ghosts. But what they find is a vengeful dark spirit whose strength has been growing for decades. It will take unearthing long buried secrets to beat this demon and save what's left of Melanie's family...  


The Girl On Legare Street (Tradd Street, #2)The Girl On Legare Street by Karen White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White is a 2009 NAL publication.

Karen White’s name has been popping up in various Goodreads threads recently, so I decided to check out a few of her books.

Going by what was available in my Overdrive library, I started with the Tradd Street series. This book is the second installment in a four part series.

Melanie’s life should have returned to her nice orderly routine after she accepted her inheritance of a fabled old home on Tradd Street. She, along with Jack Trenholm, a writer, solve an old mystery and help a restless spirt move on.

But, Melanie’s life may never return to its former peace and order because her estranged mother has returned with a determination to buy back her childhood home and become a mother to Melanie after a thirty-three year absence. She insists Melanie is in danger and commissions Jack to help her, which throws Melanie into another tailspin as ghosts, both good and bad, once more disrupt her routine, and keeps her off balance, and humming ABBA tunes louder than ever, as she tries to solve another historical cold case mystery. ]


Now that I know the characters a little better, I was able to settle in and go with the flow, enjoying the hilarious curves thrown at Melanie at times. The mystery here is a bit transparent, but is almost secondary to the main storyline, which centers around the question of why Melanie’s mother left her all those years ago. The relationship is fragile and fraught with misconceptions, but I did like seeing them make a little overdue progress. The part of the story I found most frustrating was Melanie’s pushing Jack away and how it really backfires on her.

However, there are two more installments in the series and so maybe the cause is not lost just yet. There was a super surprising little twist at the end of the story that has me very curious about what will take place in book three. But, the book I need is on hold, so I will have to cool my heels for a while before I can find out what happens next. GRRR!

This paranormal mystery/romance is just as entertaining as the first book, with the humor shining through a little more, but with more romantic angst. The mystery is not as compelling as in the first book, but it served its purpose by reuniting Melanie with her mother. So, overall, this is an enjoyable installment in the four-part series, and promises to continue with more ghostly appearances and mysteries to solve in the future.





Psychic realtor Melanie Middleton is still restoring her Charleston house and doesn't expect to have a new houseguest, a teen girl named Nola. But the girl didn't come alone, and the spirits that accompanied Nola don't seem willing to leave...



The Strangers on Montagu Street (Tradd Street, #3)The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White is a 2011 NAL publication.

It’s hard to believe I had never read anything by this author until recently, when I checked out “The House on Tradd Street” from the library. I was instantly hooked, and have fallen in love with all the characters, paranormal mysteries, and romance in Charleston.

In this third chapter of the series, Jack learns he is the father a thirteen- year old daughter whose mother just died, making him a single parent. But, it is not Rebecca he turns to when he needs help with Nola, but Melanie, who welcomes Nola into her home with open arms.

It becomes clear almost immediately that Nola didn’t show up alone. It would seem the ghost of her mother, Bonnie, has also arrived to watch over her daughter, which is only the beginning of Nola’s paranormal adventures.


In the meantime, Sophie is planning a wedding and things heat up between Melanie and Jack, finally!

While all the mysteries so far have been suspenseful, this one is the most sinister so far. It is also pretty emotional, especially in the last few chapters when Melanie and Jack have another huge personal crisis. But, the humor was strategically placed to keep things from becoming too tense, and Nola is a very welcome addition to the cast.

I am excited to see how things will finally turn out for my favorite OCD real estate agent and her leading man, Jack.






Facing her future as a single mother, psychic Realtor Melanie Middleton is determined to be strong and leave her past with writer Jack Trenholm behind her. But history has a tendency of catching up with Melanie, whether she likes it or not.…

Melanie is only going through the motions of living since refusing Jack’s marriage proposal. She misses him desperately, but her broken heart is the least of her problems. Despite an insistence that she can raise their child alone, Melanie is completely unprepared for motherhood, and she struggles to complete renovations on her house on Tradd Street before the baby arrives.

When Melanie is roused one night by the sound of a ghostly infant crying, she chooses to ignore it. She simply does not have the energy to deal with one more crisis. That is, until the remains of a newborn buried in an old christening gown are found hidden in the foundation of her house.

As the hauntings on Tradd Street slowly become more violent, Melanie decides to find out what caused the baby’s untimely death, uncovering the love, loss, and betrayal that color the house’s history—and threaten her claim of ownership. But can she seek Jack’s help without risking her heart? For in revealing the secrets of the past, Melanie also awakens the malevolent presence that has tried to keep the truth hidden for decades.…



Return to Tradd Street (Tradd Street, #4)Return to Tradd Street by Karen White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Return to Tradd Street by Karen White is a 2014 NAL publication.

As they say, ‘All good things must come to an end’, and so with a heavy heart, I started the last book in the four part Tradd Street series.

I predicted, in a review of a previous book in this series, that Melanie might never regain the control of her very orderly, planned right down to the last detail, organized life again, but I never would have imagined things turning out quite like this.

Personally, I recommend reading this series in order to truly appreciate the character growth and understand how Melanie first came to own the house on Tradd Street, how she met Jack, the reason she loves ABBA, and has OCD tendencies, and of course her inherited psychic gifts.

Melanie is forty years old, pregnant, and unmarried. She and Jack had a falling out, but when she informed him she was expecting his baby, naturally he did the honorable thing and proposed marriage. However, Melanie refuses him, with good reason, but her heart is broken into little pieces.

Exhausted and emotionally drained, Melanie has no patience for ghosts, but when the bones of a baby are found on her property, she is once more mired in an ancient mystery, while coping with a frenzy of media attention, and a shocking announcement from her doctor regarding her pregnancy.

I had never read a novel by Karen White until I started this series, and had no idea what to expect, but I have to confess I never would have thought I'd be this pleased with the series.

I love ghost stories, romance, humor and stories set in southern locations, so I suppose all those elements combined in one story easily won me over.

This last installment gives the series a solid send off as we follow along with Melanie’s pregnancy, her ups and downs with Jack, her run ins with Rebecca, while revealing a tense historical tale that will reveal horrible truths, but set the record straight once and for all.

I loved the way the story ended, which was simply lovely, and I have to say I was very proud of Melanie and how far she has come since first meeting her, and it’s nice to know she is truly happy now.

I am so thankful I found this series and will seek out any other books by this author I can find.




I just learned this series will  have  at least one more installment - "The Guest on South Battery"  coming in January 2017!!


New York Times bestselling author Karen White invites you to explore the brick-walked streets of Charleston, where historic mansions house the memories of years gone by, and restless spirits refuse to fade away...
With her extended maternity leave at it’s end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for over a year are about to invade her life once more.

But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell it as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.

Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to appear to her again. One is shrouded from sight, appearing whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in her backyard on Tradd Street.

Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried...





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