The Guests on South Battery

Narrated by: Aimée Bruneau
Series: Tradd Street, Book 5
Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,444 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling 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 its 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.

©2017 Harley House Books, LLC (P)2017 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Guests on South Battery

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator was scarier than the ghosts!

Would you try another book from Karen White and/or Aimée Bruneau?

I'm a fan of Karen White; however, this book is not reflective of her abilities. While Ms. White's books are lighter fiction, her narratives are enjoyable and often didactic. She clearly conducts quality research when researching the topics that ground and shape her narratives. Additionally, her characters are usually multi-dimensional and tend to evolve in meaningful ways. Unfortunately for her readers, Ms. White's latest effort is not up to her own standards. Did she not think her readers would notice? Her narrative breaks basic rules of character development: show don't tell. I'm beyond annoyed at the OCD antics of Melanie, many of which are repeated ad-nauseam. And, no - this is not her "showing" rather than telling. The simplicity of her writing belies such possibilities. Ms. White's characters' in this novel are pedestrian at best and cliche for the rest of the time. As for the narration by Aimee Bruneau... Listening to Ms. Bruneau's attempts at a Southern Accent are grating. I am from Virginia, spent years in Savannah, and now live in Atlanta. My ancestors never left the South, and my maternal family is DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). Ms. White's portrayal of the contemporary South, replete with haunting histories, mysterious houses, and quirky local customs is often spot-on. Yet, the narrator's inability to pronounce words such as Abba (the rock group) and local areas in Charleston are jarring and disrupt the already weak narrative. The editing is at fault as well. There is no pause between chapters. The announcement of "Chapter X" is treated as a sentence rather than a break. More than a few times I reviewed the end of a chapter as I was sure the audio had skipped.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Ms. White usually tells a good ghost story. Unfortunately, Ms. White's storytelling was weakened by her own lack of efforts.The least interesting?? Melanie has grown in her life, or should have. Ms. White's continued focus on Melanie's "organizational ideas" and child / family routine / spread-sheets was ridiculous and unbelievable. Southern Moms do enjoy smocked clothing and take pride in dressing their children, but readers could have done without the pedestrian interior monologues and character banter / dialogue The book grew tiresome quickly. I rarely have a desire to drop-kick fictional entities, but I was tempted to do so with the characters of Guests on South Battery.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Aimée Bruneau?

It seems logical that a narrator who has a native Southern Accent would have been the choice reader. Better yet, a narrator who has the unique low-country, Old Charleston or Savannah accent would have been ideal.

Any additional comments?

Better editing needed! The chapters were barely separated. The narrator would read, "Chapter X" like any other sentence, and the text continued without break.

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

not like the earlier books. Barely got through.

I just discovered Karen White and have really enjoyed her books. The tradd street series was very entertaining because Charleston is my favorite City. This book was quite simply very irritating. the character Melanie is so unlikeable and silly and not at all like the semi self--confident lady that the earlier books had. I feel like the reader knew what was going on far too early in the story and there was no suspense, just head-shaking numbness that the main character wasn't catching on. the fact that she's already holding back from Jack at the end of the novel lets me know that I will never read another one of these books.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enticing story

This book was very well written I enjoyed the light humor, and also the lack of heavy sex scenes, which serve only to take up space. The narrator was spot on with her characters, and the beautiful Southern accent added greatly to the storytelling and listening enjoyment. .

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love the series!!

There are many series that are amazing in the beginning. As the series continue the books become less and less appealing, but this series only gets better and this last book has been the best. Karen White is an amazing writer and the narration is equally wonderful is a must read for all !'

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

INTRIGUING FROM THE START!!!!

I've listened to this entire series and I truly believe that if there's a 5-star series out there, this is it. The story captures your attention from the very start on every book. Aimee Bruneau's voice wouldn't be my favorite on some novels but I think she fits this atmosphere and location perfectly. I sincerely hope the series continues and SOON!

I will certainly look for other Karen White novels. Worth the credit? Absolutely but starting from the beginning is a must.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Story collapsed in last chapter

Typical good ghost/bad ghost with interesting twist, but the author never completely explained the semi-unusual syndrome that compelled the bad ghost. She gave many 'hints', which made me suspect the cause early on, but never presented it as the 'cause' until the last few sentences in the book. Being a fairly original illness -as most ghost stories go - I thought she should have devoted at least half a chapter to explain and discuss the syndrome, & I was quite annoyed when it wasn't. It would have made the plot much more understandable, & made the 'bad' ghost more empathetic.

The ending also seemed very abrupt & unsatisfying. Combine all this with the fact that the heroine is now married '- with twins! - the 'romance' portions no longer had the would she - would he interest. Knowing that married primary characters no longer peak reader's curiousity, I wonder if this was actually step 1 in introducing the "sensitive' twin who would eventually generate a new series.

Although I awaited this book, I'm not sure sure if it's deficiencies will sway me from this author...though I have my suspicions that this might be the case. Normally I give this series 4 stars...but I dropped to 3 stars overall , & 2 stars for the story. The author Just seemed to be in too big a hurry to call it finished.

4 people found this helpful

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A great read

I reccommend starting with the first in the series.
But you can read them separately. Characters and plot will draw you in immediately.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Protagonist in denial

Would you try another book from Karen White and/or Aimée Bruneau?

No.

What was most disappointing about Karen White’s story?

The protagonist was an undisciplined nitpicker I could not identify with. I would have sent
her to a shrink. How could her husband stand her?

What three words best describe Aimée Bruneau’s voice?

I am neutral about her.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was disappointed not to be able to return this book. I found the main character a person I could not admire, only criticize. I would shun such a woman if I actually met her.

Any additional comments?

I have returned only one other book I chose in error; it was fantasy & not my genre.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Melanie deserves so much better

Lots of spoilers.
Melanie is a 40+ mother of twins, stepmother of a teen, and new wife who is able to see ghosts, a family gift. My issues with this book are all with the characters. Melanie, who was strong, independent, and controlling in previous books is now working on her "character flaws," essentially making her insecure with no actual support from her family and friends. The person who is most honest with Melanie about how she thinks things is her distant cousin, Rebecca. Rebecca is a manipulative jerk and alludes to Melanie's weight gain, the fact that her husband is spending a lot of time with the nanny, and tells her closer to the truth about her mother's former relationship than anyone in her family does.
One of the things that is considered a "character flaw" is her need for control. She had to basically raise herself and made herself into a very successful realtor which she handled by trying to control all of the variables using lists and charts. In this book, her overuse of lists and charts could be funny but her husband and the nanny decide, without having the consideration to talk to her, to stop all charts and make huge changes. Again, just between the two of them without even pretending to take her feelings into consideration. They were probably right on some things but were unwilling to relent on anything including how to dress her children.
Another "character flaw" was her ignoring issues. So she is told over and over again that she needs to communicate better by the same people who ignore her feelings and do not communicate with her at all. Her mother hid a huge secret from her and Melanie's dad and Jack is hiding a lot.
Everyone likes to imply that Melanie is fat. Her family and friends will not allow her to eat any of the food she likes and even the owner of the bakery she has always gone to refuses to sell her donuts. Her mom and Sophie especially try to shame her into working out. She makes comments about her clothes shrinking but I felt like she was just looking for people to support her. No-one does.
With everyone, including Melanie, telling her how much she needs to change, it is no wonder her confidence is shaken.
Melanie's "best friend," Sophie is a manipulative, horrible person and Melanie would be best to cut ties with her. Sophie basically cements Melanie's suspicions about Jack having an inappropriate relationship with Jayne saying she caught them with their hands all over each other but it "could" have been innocent. Melanie was already self-conscious and jealous. Sophie also tries to convince Melanie to run a 5K because Jayne was. Further implying that they are rivals.
Jack. He belittles Melanie's parenting opinions, deferring solely to what he and Jayne decide without her. He tells her how much she needs to tell him things and then does not tell her that there is financial difficulties. When Melanie tells him of her suspicion he actually laughs at her. Melanie is being told by everyone that Jayne and Jack appear to be more but is treated like it is just a matter of her own insecurity. After Jack is told, one would think he would try to be more careful of not stepping over the line.
The party. Melanie confronts Jack for ogling Jayne is a knowing way and he brushes her off saying that Jayne is attractive so of course he is going to look. Then, at the party he sneaks off with Jayne, not saying anything to Melanie, and she hears a public announcement that he has been talking to Marc about using the home for film location. She goes to find him and then finds him in a cooler embracing Jayne.
Then everyone tells a heartbroken Melanie how she needs to suck it up and talk to the man that they have all been implying is having an affair with the person he snuck off with. Even Sophie has the gall to tell Melanie that because she hugs people non romantically then it was probably innocent. Sophie is one of the people who made Melanie feel so suspicious. But the difference is that Melanie doesn't sneak away and hide in freezers to hug children, I think everyone in the world would see the issue with that.
Of course it was all Melanie's mistake for assuming that the people who were not communicating with her were hiding things, oh wait. Luckily she learned her lesson so she can be more receptive to their abuse going forward.
Nola, Jayne, and the detective were the only characters who treated Melanie with love. Sometimes the twins. I hope Melanie can get back to previous books version of her. She seems depressed and she has no real support so it will be tough. I do not think I will ready any of the future books in this series.

I was able to figure out the mystery early on, as many other reviewers were as well.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I like the series, but...

Karen White has a terrible habit of writing her heroines as whining, needy, insecure women...the kind you'd really like to slap in real life! I'll keep reading her books but I wish she'd write stronger, smarter, more likable characters. If I were Jack I'd kick Melle to the curb (or send her to a good therapist!).

2 people found this helpful