Enter Jack Trenholm, agorgeous writer obsessed with unresolved mysteries. He has no reason to believe that diamonds from the Confederate Treasury are hidden in the house. So he turns the charm on with Melanie, only to discover he's the smitten one...It turns out Jack's search has caught the attention of a malevolent ghost. Now, Jack and Melanie must unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak - and even murder.
Karen White, author of 10 award-winning novels, is a graduate of Tulane University and the American School in London. She currently lives in Georgia with her husband and two children. When not writing, she spends her time reading, singing, scrapbooking, carpooling children and avoiding cooking.
©2008 Karen White; (P)2008 Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
I liked the concept of the book but I didn't like Melanie. I was annoyed and frustrated with the bossy, coy southern bell that doesn't like dogs and yet gets annoyed that someone gives her inherited dog some toys! I didn't like the fact that she specialized in selling old homes and yet hates everything not modern.
I would put this book in the young romance section, a predictable story, no curse words, romance?....a couple of kisses and sleeping on the couch, oh hum.
First, I want you to know that I am squirming in my seat because, instead of writing this review, I really want to be purchasing any other book by Karen White and listening to it ASAP.
However, this audiobook was a bit of a wild card for me and I want to make sure that this little jewel doesn't get passed over. When I first started listening to it, I wasn't yet sure if I'd made a mistake. I was focusing on problems I had with the narration, which I will address later in the review.
I loved this book! It not only had a great plot and provided such a beautiful multi-sensory description of Charleston that it made me want to move there, not less visit.
It is also the best modern haunted house story written since "The House Next Door" by Anne Rivers Siddons. Stephen King once wrote a book about the genre of ghost stories in which he said that the best story lines are those which contain not only a supernatural (inner) threat, but also an external threat - whether it be a blizzard, a villain or the IRS. (Oops, those last two examples are redundant, lol!)
Also, and I don't remember if King said this or not, but she layers the thrills in a way that, rather than slamming us in a way that discredits the story line, it begins quietly and naturally. I am referring to the supernatural aspects of the story, but it is also true of the secondary, everyday threats in the story as well.
It left me thrilled, satisfied and ready for another of her books.
Now for the narration:
Aimee Bruneau, to my ears as a born Texan, nailed the Charleston accent, but sounded as if it was a skill she had just learned. I don't know if she is a Southerner who has lived elsewhere for many years or if she perhaps had difficulty creating separate "voices" for the characters, but it sounded as if she paused to take a breath before she read certain lines. It made me lose concentration on the plot at first, because it seemed to me that she even "lost" the accent at times.
Another problem I found with the narration, and Bruneau is NOT the only performer with this issue, is that I got the feeling that she were reading the book for the first time. Many lines were read with completely different expressions than I would expect. If it happens once or twice, I figure it's just me. But with this audiobook (and a couple of others) both the expression and the cadence of certain lines made me feel that they had caught the narrator unprepared.
Further, and this is not her fault as a narrator, there were fairly long gaps of "dead air." I had to check my iPod a couple of times to see if it was still running - the silences could be that long.
I don't want to dump on her, but it is a bit of a put-off at the beginning of the book. I'd hate for anyone to stop listening too early to get so involved in the plot that the narration doesn't distract from a gem of a story. (So to speak.)
I read in previous reviews about the narrator being bad, she isnt bad, she just speaks kinda slow, and takes alot of odd pauses. Still, the book is totally worth it. The characters are very good and likeable, there is good imagery of Charleston, and I enjoyed the plot and I was extremely excited to find out what was going to happen in the end, I wasnt disappointed. I typically enjoy books about the South, which is why I purchased this book, I would definitely recommend it.
I have purchased the follow up to the series.
Melanie spends the majority of the book lying to everyone about seeing ghosts then gets all bent out of shape when she finds out Jack wasn't completely up front with her about his objectives. In addition, she has the poor taste to become involved with obviously-sleazy Mark while making Jack keep his distance and ignoring all warning signs about sleazo's motives. I haven't finished it yet and keep hoping she'll get smarter eventually. Maybe Mark will turn out to be wonderful but, at this point, I have my doubts.
This book tries to do too much, and pretty much fails at all of it.
The book tries to be a book about the historical South, about recovery and redemption of an alcoholic parent, a romance involving a "damaged" man who was stood up at the altar, a "matchmaker" friendship , a paranormal study, a fashion-and-name-dropping portfolio, and a mystery.
Melanie is a 39-year-old real estate professional woman who "wears her sexual repression like a chastity belt", whose father is an alcoholic and whose mother left her and her father to pursue her opera career. Melanie also inherited her mother's "gift" for seeing ghosts.
Nevine Vanderhorst meets with Melanie about his old house--falling into disrepair--and wants to talk to her about his mother who supposedly ran out on him when he was a child. He wants to know if Melanie can see the ghost of his mother in the garden. Melanie is annoyed at having wasted much of her time, and two days later finds out she has inherited Mr. Vanderhorst's house.
Neville set up his will with a trust, requiring Melanie to live in the house for a minimum of a year, with the trust fund trustee being her estranged alcoholic father.
Enter one of the two love interests, Jack. Jack is trying to recover from being stood up at the altar by Emily. (Incidentally, the author couldn't be bothered to do the most fundamental of research, placing the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York, rather than Rochester, Minnesota.) Jack is a famous writer who also has an incredibly wealthy family, is good looking, drips sex appeal, is a consummate researcher, oh, and a cryptologist...
This book could have done with some serious editing... having to put feet to the ground to stand up, repetitive descriptions of Confederate jasmine and hydrangea, Melanie's feelings of betrayal at her mother's departure, details about typing in the Blackberry, etc.
All in all, I am really glad I got this audio book on sale. I would not have wanted to pay "full credit" for it.
I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.
The plot line on this is past obvious but it managed to take some interesting spins in the details. I did not enjoy the southern aspects of this book. It was more about attitude than accent. It's premises about ghosts are quite good. And it's a house I would love to visit, just from the descriptions.
Melanie Middleton and I would not be friends. But I'm okay with that, because even though I can't stand Miss Middleton (urgh), I love Karen White's Tradd Street series. I love that these books are set in Charleston (now I really want to visit!) and the tangled webs that run through this series heightens the mystery and intrique. The ghost story in this book is very engaging and Jack is super sexy (except possibly his taste in Melanie).
Even though Melanie is a prickly heroine, that strangely doesn't detract from this book. It's definitely worth the listen.
I am a voracious reader and audible listener. I listen to about a book a week. This is the first time I have felt compelled to write a review.I HATED this book and can't believe I even managed to finish it. It is basically a romance novel, and not a good one.The book starts with a man leaving his multi-million dollar historic home to a stranger. Because she sees dead people. He wants the mystery solved regarding his mother's disappearance when he was a young boy. There is nothing mysterious about it; you already know how it ends. He wants her to find the answer after he's dead - for some reason he didn't pursue this when he was alive? The house is in need of major renovations. A house he "loved like a child." He has plenty of money but for whatever reason chose to let the house fall in ruin. His words are repeated ad nauseam through out the book in an annoying voice. "An old house is a piece of history you can hold in your hands." What? The main character, Melanie, could not be more annoying or less likeable. She's 39 and acts like she's 12. She's rude, uptight, irritating and a total b#tch. She's upset she inherited this house because she doesn't like old houses. Remember, she sees dead people. She is required to live in the house for a year before selling so she moves in and plans to use the time renovating with the extensive funds she was left intended for this purpose.Of course Melanie is gorgeous with the perfect body despite the fact that she's a human garbage disposal. But she has no experience with men.Melanie has multiple friend and family members helping her FOR FREE with the renovations and she treats them all like dirt. One of them, Jack, is helping because he is researching a book. Of course he is a gorgeous, rich, successful man who somehow finds her endearing. Jack loves to solve mysteries, but for some reason never bothered to look for his finance or solve the mystery of her disappearance after she left him at the alter. Gee, I wonder how this “mystery” will turn out once it’s solved? Melanie is committed to solving the mystery, but wants to ignore the ghost and the clues they leave. She starts dating a man, who is of course gorgeous and rich and successful. Anytime he comes to the house the dog barks and the door won’t open for him and/or slams in his face. And there is a chill. Hmmmmm….what could this mean? I can’t say more without ruining the “mystery” that is “solved” at the end. But if you think you’ve figured it out at the beginning, you have.All the characters are wooden and everything out of their mouths are a cliché.One of the ghosts is evil and tries to injure and/or kill Melanie. I couldn't have rooted for the ghost more. Kill her, kill her, kill her!
Bad writing. Bad reading. Bad use of a credit. There really isn't much more to say. I took a chance after reading the other reviews and that was a mistake I won't make again. Didn't buy the the fact that the characters were any more southern than myself, and I'm from California. The writing reminded me of sitting in my college writing class listening to stories classmates were presenting prior to the professor's corrections. Repetitive and rather boring. The only good thing about it was that it was easy to shut off and I got my laundry done! Oh....and mercifully it ended.
but I have to say, I liked it once I got used to the southern accent (was that real?), and the southern bell mentality of the self-loathing main character. The male characters were great, as was the premise. I'd check out Karen White again. I think she has something interesting to say and I suspect her next book will be even better.
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