There’s nothing I love more than a hearty and long series. The more books in a series, the more inclined I am to seek them out and disappear in them for a while. (Seriously, I was off the grid for nearly 4 whole months when I got sucked into The Southern Vampire Mysteries.)
I also love mysteries that have to do with old spooky houses. It’s sort of magical when an author can create a whole other world and place for you to explore. In my opinion, old historical houses are much preferred!
And lastly, in addition to those things, I get majorly gooey eyed over anything that has to do with the paranormal.
The Tradd Street series has six installments. The House on Tradd Street is based on a historical and mysterious southern Victorian mansion. Also, our main character can see ghosts. On paper, you’d think the Tradd Street series would be right up my alley!
Wrong. Somehow it went very wrong!
Please take this journey with me as I tell you how and why.
Melanie Middleton is a real estate agent with a bit of a secret; she can see ghosts. Although Melanie has gotten pretty good at not letting her secret disrupt her daily routine, it becomes a bit more difficult when a strange old man passes away and leaves Melanie his historic Tradd Street home, which also includes a cute little dog and a sh*t ton of ghosts.
Burdened by the unwanted gift of a house and the restoration it requires before she can sell, Jack Trenholm, a handsome writer who’s obsessed with the history and unsolved mysteries involving the Tradd Street home, offers his services to help fix things up. Of course, that is, as long as she helps him dig up information within the walls of the house for his new book. Oh, and did Jack mention that there’s a myth that diamonds from the Confederate Treasury are hidden somewhere inside the Tradd Street home?
And let’s not be naive, a dangerously handsome man like Jack doesn’t just come into your house without stirring up a bit of trouble… Or a lot of trouble. It appears that his quest for the truth is angering a evil spirit.
Luckily, begrudgingly, Melanie can help with that problem.
Soon, whether she likes it or not, Melanie is caught in the middle of an unraveling series of secrets that might’ve been safer if they had been left in the past.
The Frustration. My Review.
For so many reasons I was looking forward to beginning this series and maybe that is why I am so greatly disappointed.
Let me start with my biggest issue, Melanie, and why I found her completely insufferable.
In the beginning of this novel Melanie is presented to us as a cutthroat real state agent who works hard, she runs her own business, she’s the best in her industry, and she doesn’t get pushed around.
At first, I was thinking, “okay, sold!” Except for Melanie is not anything like what she’s presented to be.
As the story progresses we witness Melanie being manipulated and pushed around by every man in her life, both new relationships and old. She can’t stick up for herself, her beliefs, or her property, even for a second. As a reader, and a female reader at that, I was beyond frustrated and disappointed with her character’s progression. I found myself scoffing out loud while I vicariously sat in on her poor decision making and meek tendencies.
In addition to these aforementioned unflattering qualities, Melanie also becomes even less likable when it is explained, and re-explained, how, despite coming up on 40 years of age, Melanie’s just so damn skinny and pretty. It’s not weird at all that her daily morning routine is housing 10 donuts for breakfast partnered with her 70% sugar latte. Isn’t that how it is for every woman?… Okay, Karen White… Okay, girl.
And as if she couldn’t get any worse, Melanie hates the dog that came with the house. She immediately pawns it off on her best friend, (don’t even get me started on that corny cliche of a character,) who takes the dog in for a while. When her extremely embarrassing friend realizes that she has a dog allergy, that poor soul is given back to Melanie for more neglect and harsh words about how she wishes he didn’t exist. (That’s a special kind of evil, if you ask me.)
I’ll move on to the love interest, if that’s even what you want to call him.
We’re formally introduced to Jack at some sort of bar/restaurant he takes Melanie to. Let me describe this scene: He walks in to the establishment, kisses the hostess, sits down at a table, kisses the waitress, winks at a couple girls at the bar, and Melanie’s just like, “I wish this was a bit more upscale, I will not eat anything that requires the use of my bare hands.”
Trust me, I am all for books that start off a relationship rocky only to later bring you to experience the heart flutter when the characters start to unwrap like gifts on Christmas morning. They start dropping their walls and begin to understand the reasons for each other’s terrible qualities, and suddenly you (as the reader) almost feel sorry for how irritated you were with that character only chapters ago. I get it.
But this guy is clearly a womanizer and, to be clear, his character doesn’t develop very much or get any more likable, even when you discover his backstory!
When Melanie introduces herself to Jack, he decides to call her Mellie. She explains that she hates the name Mellie and strongly prefers to be called Melanie. But, for the love of god, he cannot accept that. As it turns out, there’s a lot of pain that comes with that nickname for Melanie based on her history with her mother, not that she should have to explain that to Jack, but he just simply doesn’t respect her enough to even call her by her preferred name. Cool. Good talk, Jack.
Lastly, while the story itself is interesting and did hold my attention, it seems to be very slow moving and mostly uneventful until there are only a few chapters left. Then I felt as if it suddenly picked up speed and tried to wrap everything up in a very short amount of time. I really hate when this happens.
Because of these issues I had mostly with the characters, the book in its entirely was unbearable to me. I really suffered through this. Yes, I stayed until the end, but it’s because I wanted to know what the mystery was! (Which I would’ve never guessed or figured out on my own in a thousand years.)
I am completely turned off to the entire series and will not pick these back up. I am also trepidatious to read another novel written by Karen White. Maybe once the wound has healed from how irritated I am over Tradd Street I can give her another chance. We’ll see.
My rating: ★★☆☆☆
Have you read any of Karen White’s works? What are your feelings about her writing style and character development?
Did you read Tradd Street? What were your thoughts?
I’d love to hear from you.