Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White

Melanie.

The word was spoken against my ear, and I stopped, my feet unwilling or unable to move.

Give it back.

The words seemed to grow louder instead of fading, my eardrums aching from the sound of them.  Cold fingers fumbled at my neck, and I felt the clasp snap as the locket was snatched away from me.

It is mine! the voice screeched.  I slid down the wall to a squat, pressing my hands against my ringing ears.

The icy fingers were at my neck again, but this time they were pressing against the flesh there, squeezing the breath out of me.  I struck out at empty air and shouted for help, but the word came out as a gasp of air.  Spots danced in front of me as the fingers dug into my neck, my throat burning, my eyes blinded with light.  I tried to call out one more time, realizing as I began to slip into unconsciousness that the word I was trying to say was Jack.  (from The Girl on Legare Street, page 178)

In The Girl on Legare Street, Karen White revisits the characters she introduced last year in The House on Tradd Street (click here to read my review).  Overachieving, super-organized Realtor Melanie Middleton can see and hear ghosts.  It's a gift she hasn't fully embraced, which can be a problem when you own and are in the process of restoring an historic home that just happens to be haunted.  White paints another beautiful portrait of historic homes in Charleston, S.C., this time Melanie's childhood home on Legare Street.  An even more sinister ghost haunts this home, and Melanie's mother, Ginnette, who abandoned her more than thirty years ago, is back.  Melanie wants nothing to do with her, but with a little coaxing from Jack Trenholm -- a writer whom she met when she inherited the house on Tradd Street, the one who makes her heart flutter and her blood boil, depending on her mood -- and the various other people in her life, she is willing to tolerate her mother and help her purchase the house on Legare Street.  She learns that her mother received a premonition and raced back to Charleston to protect her; Melanie can't understand why her mother left her as a child and came back now when she's old enough to take care of herself.

Ginnette has the gift, too, and she believes teaming up with Melanie will make them both strong enough to force the ghost inhabiting the Legare Street house out of their lives forever.  But of course, when Melanie is involved, things rarely go easy.  Although whiny at times, Melanie's ranting and raving about her mother's abandonment, her constant denial of her feelings for Jack, her jealousy of Jack's connection to the reporter writing a story about her mother, and even some romance with the ghost of a German soldier all provide plenty of entertainment as readers try to solve the riddles and mystery involving lockets, a journal, a stained glass window, and a body found in a trunk under the sea.  Who is the ghost tormenting Melanie and her mother?  How does the mystery involve Melanie's ancestors?  And when is Melanie going to open her eyes when it comes to Jack?  Well, you'll just have to grab a copy of The Girl on Legare Street and find out.  (It's not crucial that you read The House on Tradd Street first, but it'll make certain things easier to follow.  And it's a good book, so you should read it anyway.)

Karen White is a very talented Southern fiction writer.  Her characters are lovable despite their flaws, and Melanie's first-person narration makes it feel like you're following around an old friend.  White beautifully describes the homes of which she writes, and the mysteries are suspenseful enough to keep you reading past your bedtime.  She does a great job setting a creepy mood when the ghosts appear, and while theses scenes aren't overly scary, you might think differently if you're reading them at night in your home alone.  The Girl on Legare Street has something for everyone -- mystery, romance, familial drama, and of course, enough sexual tension that you could cut it with a knife.

White wraps up the mystery by the end of the book, but she opens up a whole new can of worms on the very last page, so you can bet I'm eagerly anticipating the third book in the Melanie and Jack saga, which is due out in Fall 2011.

Check out my Examiner page for my interview with Karen!

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of The Girl on Legare Street from Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting for review purposes.

19 comments:

Serena said...

I really enjoyed this book. Great review!

Staci said...

I can't wait to get to the first one!! Loved your review!

Tricia said...

I can't believe how long we have to wait for the next book! I really enjoyed this one too.

Suko said...

Another wonderful review, Anna. Thanks!

bermudaonion said...

I've got this book but want to read The House on Tradd Street first. It's just killing me, too, because everyone seems to be loving this one.

Ladytink_534 said...

I plan on reading this as soon as it gets here. The first one was good but this sounds awesome!

Melody said...

That's what I thought about the ending. I'm glad there will be a sequel, but 2011 seems like a long time to me!

Nise' said...

Great review. I have this one on my stack waiting for me.

lilly said...

Oh gee, I now really have to start reading Karen White! You got my interest spiked and I am happy to find out that it is part of a saga (I love sagas).

wisteria said...

This sounds really worth reading. Thanks for your terrific review. I just love southern settings...and Charleston is one of my favorite cities.

wisteria said...

Anna....Thanks for posting the review of The German Woman. :)

Lisa said...

I'm reading The House on Tradd Street right now and this one is up next. Looking forward to it!

Literary Feline said...

Great review, Anna. I love the ghosts in these novels. Karen White does know how to tell a good mystery.

justicejenniferreads said...

This series sounds really appealing to me. I like ghost stories and I love old houses. The whole story line seems to have all the elements I love in a book. Great review. I'll have to check these books out.

Dar said...

Nice review Anna. I really enjoyed this installment as well. I can't wait to see what happens in the next one.

Toni said...

wow..this must be "the book to read." Nothing but great reviews. Your review was very stellar I must say.

Anna said...

~Serena: Thanks!

~Staci: Stop what you're doing and read it right now! LOL

~Tricia: My thoughts exactly!

~Suko: No, thank YOU!

~bermudaonion: I really hope you get to read them soon. I think you'll enjoy them.

~Ladytink: I loved this one even more than the first.

~Melody: The suspense is killing me!!!

~Nise': I'm looking forward to your thoughts.

~Lilly: I don't think it's really a saga. I just used that word because of all the drama with the Melanie/Jack relationship. Regardless, you should read Karen White. I've enjoyed the books I've read by her so far.

~Wisteria: I love Southern fiction, too, and I've only passed through a couple of Southern states in my time. There's something so cozy about the Southern settings.

~Lisa: I'm looking forward to your reviews!

~Literary Feline: I love that they're creepy and spooky but not totally scary.

~justicejenniferreads: That being said, I bet you'll really enjoy these.

~Dar: I can't believe we have to wait so long!

~Toni: Thanks! I do hope you check out these books.

S. Krishna said...

I really enjoyed this one as well. I loved how deliciously creepy it was!

Anna said...

~S. Krishna: Creepy is good. I can't do scary, but I love creepy. ;)