The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first in a series of books. The main character, Melanie Middleton, sees ghosts and doesn't want anyone to know it. In fact, she's been denying her gift for years. That's why she hates old houses and antiques. So inheriting an old house South of Broad in Charleston, SC, filled with ghosts is not on her things-to-do-before-I-die list.
When I first started reading this book, I felt pretty certain I would give it two or three stars. The main character's personality is not pleasing in the least. She's whiney, immature, and prickly. I think perhaps my aversion to Melanie comes from her repeated insistence that she hates old houses. She tells this to anyone who will listen over and over again. After the first couple of mentions, I got the hint. It took awhile longer for Melanie to let the reader know WHY she hates old houses. As the reader, I wouldn't have minded knowing this sooner, since Melanie knew it from before the beginning of the book. I'm not opposed to a less than likable heroine, except when it comes to romance. And this book definitely can be classified in a subgenre of romance.
Ms. Middleton is pursued by two men, Jack and Marc. It doesn't take long for the reader to realize that Marc is not a very nice guy and his intentions are not honest. On the contrary, Jack, although not always honest, at least means well and is truly attracted to Melanie (who knows why?). Melanie's determination to date Marc long after the reader knows she shouldn't is not credible. Jack details Marc's questionable business dealings and shady history to her, yet she still dates Marc even while she imagines it's Jack she's kissing! Her reason for this is thin. I won't spoil it by detailing why. This makes me think Melanie isn't very bright. I like heroines to have a modicum of common sense. How else is the heroine going to overcome her problems otherwise?
This book suffered from the need for a better edit. The text had so many typos, omitted words, and misspellings that it was distracting. I had a hard time getting past the first page. The word house was used seven times in the first seven sentences. Further into the chapter the word room was repeated several times in a close space. The redundancy interrupted the flow of the chapter. The pacing of the first few chapters read very choppy.
So why did I give the book four stars? The premise and the plot line were interesting. Once I got past the earlier chapters and got into the story, the pace picked up and smoothed out. By the time I was half-way through the book, I was in love with Jack and wanted desperately for Melanie to see he was the guy for her. Call me a hopeless romantic. The mystery surrounding the house Melanie inherited was unraveled at a pleasing rate. The suspense kept me turning the pages.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. I'll be checking out the next book in this series.
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