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Author Karen White inspired my recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina. Her Tradd Street Series, set in that charming city, delighted me and birthed a curiosity to explore Charleston myself.
That’s the power of a well written book…or seven. They transport the reader to another place, another time, another culture. Karen’s books enchanted me. And I transported myself to the actual city, in early September.
There really is a Tradd Street in Charleston. I wandered down it several times. And many of the buildings and locations she mentions in her books are there too. What fun to explore a new to me city, that also felt so familiar.
Check out my mini reviews of each of the seven books in the Tradd Street series. Perhaps you will feel inspired to read them…and explore Charleston too.
Meet Author Karen White
Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 29 books…and counting. She lived in London, England as a child, however she now lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. They have two grown children.
According to her website, Karen grew up in a house full of brothers. She came to appreciate strong female characters in the third grade, when she read her first Nancy Drew Mystery…The Secret of the Old Clock.
Although she initially pursued a career in business, she wrote her first book, In the Shadow of the Moon, in 2000. She is well known for her Tradd Street Series, publishing the seventh book in that collection in early November.
Karen’s roots are in the south, where many of her stories take place. Her charming stories contain a fun mix of drama, mystery, intrigue, romance and sometimes ghosts.
The Tradd Street Series
Following is a brief, spoiler free overview of each of the books in the Tradd Street Series, in the order of publish date.
The story is ongoing, flowing from book to book. Therefore, it is important to read the books in order. I picked up my first Tradd Street book from the library last spring, after my mother read the back cover aloud to me. Not realizing a series existed, it happened to be book three, The Strangers on Montagu Street. I took it home and quickly realized I’d jumped into the middle of a story. Research revealed six books in a series…with a seventh due out in November.
Finding the first book, I devoured it and my mother and I both read through the whole series.
Here they are. Click on photos of books for more info or to order.
Book One The House on Tradd Street
Set in Charleston, this first book introduces the characters. We meet practical and extremely organized Melanie Middleton, a realtor who specializes in historic houses. This realtor though possesses a unique gift. She sees, hears and senses ghosts. And in a town full of historic events and locations like Charleston, that means she sees spirits everywhere.
To her great surprise, Melanie inherits a historic house on Tradd Street. The old house comes with a housekeeper, a dog, a number of restoration projects…and ghosts. There’s an old mystery to unravel, a family of spirits and a disappearance to solve.
Other characters introduced in The House on Tradd Street include Jack Trenholm, an attractive, charismatic writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries, Melanie’s father, a recovering alcoholic, and an eclectic assortment of friends.
Book Two The Girl on Legare Street
As Melanie renovates the old house she inherited, her life gets disrupted by the return of her estranged mother. Ginette Prioleau Middleton left Charleston 35 years ago, leaving Melanie’s father to raise their daughter.
After purchasing back the family home on Legare Street, Ginnette and Melanie seek to rebuild their relationship while combating a vengeful spirit residing in the house. Melanie, Ginette and Jack uncover dark secrets in their attempt to restore a family.
Book Three The Strangers on Montagu Street
This book introduces a new character, a teenaged girl named Nola. The girl turns out to be the daughter of Jack Trenholm, Melanie’s partner in solving mysteries and her love interest. Jack is as surprised as everyone else to discover he has a daughter.
Nola arrives with only a few possessions, after the death of her mother in California. However, she doesn’t arrive unaccompanied. An old dollhouse, occupied by more than toys, and a spirit that arrived with Nola vie for the girl’s attention and create havoc in Melanie’s life and house on Tradd Street.
Book Four Return to Tradd Street
Melanie and Jack’s relationship is as complicated as the house on Tradd Street. When Melanie discovers she’s pregnant, she determines to create a home for her and Jack’s child and embrace the role of single mother.
Tradd Street house has other plans. The wails of a ghost child will not allow Melanie to sleep at night. A shocking discovery at the house, during the extensive renovations, changes everything and launches Melanie deep into the house’s history and a tale of love, loss and betrayal.
Book Five The Guests on South Battery
Book five introduces new character Jayne, who seeks out Melanie’s services as a realtor. Jayne is eager to sell an old house on South Battery that she recently inherited.
Jayne is shrouded in mystery and strangely, seems to possess abilities similar to Melanie’s. A creepy doll and a malevolent spirit in Jayne’s house reveal secrets that refuse to remain buried.
Book Six The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street
The excavation of an old cistern, uncovered in the backyard of the house on Tradd Street, stirs up spirits from the past. The ghosts invade the house. Plus a persistent rumor that a long lost Revolutionary War treasure is buried on the property creates more problems.
Melanie and Jack once again join forces to solve a centuries old mystery before it destroys their lives and all that they hold dear.
Book Seven The Attic on Queen Street
In this last book in the Tradd Street Series, Melanie struggles with devastating changes in her life. As she and Jack comes to terms with those changes, a longtime nemesis steps in to seemingly offer a solution. Is all what it appears to be though?
While the house seems to develop a personality of its own, a friend asks Melanie for help in solving the decades old murder of her sister. The attic on Queen Street seems to hold the answers along with a less than friendly spirit who does not want the murder investigated.
My Thoughts about the Tradd Street Series
I love this series. Here’s why.
I identify strongly with Melanie’s character. She’s a psychic realtor…and so am I. She shows and sells old houses, in spite of her fears and her abilities to see, hear and sense ghosts. I do that too. It is helpful to me, on a deep level, to read about Melanie’s experiences and compare them to mine. Her growing courage and acceptance of her gifts mirrors my journey.
I appreciate the realistic way that Karen White portrays the supernatural, so much so that we exchanged emails and I had the opportunity to ask if she has intuitive abilities as well. She does not…at least not to the extant that her character Melanie does…but she’s always pursued an interest in ghosts and hauntings.
The series is fun to read, with passages that deliver some scary moments. It’s NOT full of blood and gore however. The books would translate wonderfully into a Netflix series! Fingers crossed.
Karen deeply loves the location and it shows in the way she features the city. Her beautiful ability to capture Charleston created a longing in me to explore the places she writes about.
The stories are uplifting, encouraging and thought provoking. By the end of the last book I felt like I’d acquired dear friends…or new family members.
Pick Up Your Ticket to Charleston
Even if you don’t have Charleston on your travel list, you will enjoy this series. The books are extremely entertaining and hard to put down once you begin reading.
I love seeing new places, through the pages of a book. Charleston came alive for me, as I read about Melanie and Jack’s adventures. I hated to see the series come to an end. I’m SO grateful Karen is crafting a new series, set in New Orleans. It features Nola from the Tradd Street books as the primary character. That means, hopefully, Melanie, Jack and some of the others show up in future books. I can’t wait to dig into The Shop on Royal Street next spring.
You can check your local library for Karen’s series and other books…they are all good…or you can purchase them at your local bookstore or order them via the links in this post. Start with The House on Tradd Street. As we head into winter, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a cup of hot tea and an excellent book…or seven.
And please, let me know what you think!
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