The Girl on Legare Street, by Karen White – Book Review

The Girl on Legare Street, by Karen White

Melanie Middleton and Jack Trenholm, that quarrelsome investigative duo is back, and in between falling in love or maybe just getting on each other’s last nerve, they have another mystery to solve.  Melanie’s mother, from whom Melanie has  been estranged since childhood, has returned from living overseas and wants to buy her own mother’s old home on Legare Street and warn Melanie of the grave danger that surrounds her.  Melanie’s mother  claims that she has always had her best interests at heart, but among other things, Melanie is still hurt by her abandonment and is suspicious now because she seems to know more than she will say about the strange goings on in the Legare Street house.  It remains to be seen is if she can put aside differences with her mother long enough to save both their lives from ghostly presences.

Karen White has created an engaging yet thoroughly frustrating twosome with would be lovers, Melanie and Jack.  What’s so appealing about them is that their characterization is truthfully rooted in the defenses and coping mechanisms they each have formed due to painful events from their past.  There is something a bit endearing about watching Melanie trying to keep control of a life that she used to be able to manage through careful and rigid planning. With Jack, and her family and friends trying to help her restore old houses and solve old mysteries, the days of order are gone forever. I was happy to see that best friend, and ever questionably dressed Dr. Sophie Wallen was back along  with her “boyfriend”.  They were great sources of comic relief.  I also enjoyed the interaction that both Jack and Melanie had with former lovers more than how they interacted with each other, especially  since any gains that they had previously made in their relationship seemed to have vanished.

While Jack and Melanie tried my patience, I did really love all of the research that went into this novel and the descriptions of the old houses, their restoration and the history and practices of the people who settled and became South Carolina’s most illustrious families.  I was particularly interested in the “wreckers”, people who intentionally shined lights at ships and directed them into dangerous and rock waters where they killed the passengers on board and stole their cargo.  The ghost story kept me guessing until nearly the end, and the ending clearly paves the way for the next in the series, and it seems that it delve more deeply into Jack’s past.

Both the House on Tradd Street and The Girl on Legare Street walk the line of being fun and well written mystery/ghost stories while still exploring the more serious issues of abandonment and alcoholism.  I might not be able to continue with Melanie and Jack because their relationship just frustrates me to no end, but I enjoy White’s writing and I am looking forward to the new book, On Folly Beach, that she mentioned when she stopped by Linus’s Blanket earlier this month for an interview (read Karen White’s interview).

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12 Comments

    1. They make me want to knock their heads in! I think I would have been more okay with them if they had at least started from where they were in the end of Tradd Street, but it seems as if the regressed. They can be so juvenile. I almost like Marc better.

      The romance can’t be wrapped up predictably right now since we haven’t yet reached the end, and at that point you kind of have to wrap them up happy or people will be enraged at the investment if there is no pay off and they walk away from each other. I know I would be.

  1. Goodness, you all have my curiosity in high gear! These two must be a royal pain in the ass! And if you all feel this way, I am sure I would too. I’ve been tempted to buy these on my Kindle, simply because I love the atmosphere of books like these. Now I’m wondering if I could stomach the bickering!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins (audio) =-.

  2. I really enjoyed The House on Tradd Street and plan to read this one too. I agree with you about Melanie and Jack though — not sure how much of their fighting I can take.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..The Black Tower =-.