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If you’ve read my series of posts on Charleston, South Carolina, you know that my trip there last September was inspired by the Tradd Street books by Karen White. (Read my spoiler free review of that series HERE.)
I love those stories set in the Holy City and the fun, eclectic cast of characters. How grateful I am that Karen is creating a spin off series, featuring one of the characters from Tradd Street. The first book just released and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Check out my spoiler free review of The Shop on Royal Street.
Author Karen White
Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 31 books…and counting. She lived in London, England as a child, however she now resides 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, after reading the 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 the Tradd Street Series, publishing the seventh…and final…book in that collection last November.
Karen’s roots are in the south, where many of her stories take place. Her charming tales contain a fun mix of drama, mystery, intrigue, romance and sometimes ghosts and hauntings.
The Shop on Royal Street
In the book The Strangers on Montagu, teenager Nola Trenholm arrives unexpectedly at Melanie’s house on Tradd Street. She surprises Melanie and Jack with the announcement that she is Jack’s daughter. Jumping right into parenthood, Jack and Melanie take the young girl in, giving her a home and helping her cope with the tragedy of her mother’s death.
The Shop on Royal Street takes place ten years later and moves the story, along with Nola, from Charleston to New Orleans.
Nola’s entry into adulthood wasn’t easy. New Orleans offers a chance for a fresh start with a new job and a house in the historic and offbeat Marigny District.
However, after the sensitive young woman purchases her first house, a fixer upper that everyone else avoids, she encounters old ghosts from her past…and new spirits that occupy the space she’s carefully renovating.
There are intriguing mysteries to solve, complex life situations to navigate as a young adult, an old friendship to rekindle and the perplexing Beau Ryan to figure out. That young man attracts Nola and irritates her equally.
And the shop on Royal Street refers to the antique and collectible store that Beau’s grandmother Mimi owns and operates. More mysteries surround the older woman and the shop with the locked room in the back.
New Orleans serves beautifully as the backdrop for this engaging story, with its lively neighborhoods, historic homes and French, African and American cultures.
What I Love About The Shop on Royal Street
As a fan of the Tradd Street series, I’m so delighted with the launch this new series.
I like knowing who Nola is, having “met” her in the first series and watched her personal growth while living with Melanie and Jack. The references to characters from the Tradd Street series build on that sense of familiarity. It’s also fun to see what’s going on with those characters a decade later and discovering if they are living “happily ever after”.
However, The Shop on Royal Street is very much Nola’s story and I enjoyed seeing how she’s developing as a character and a person. Karen uses humor in her writing and that is evident in this story as well.
And, as with the Tradd Street series, the supernatural plays an important part in the plot. As a sensitive and intuitive myself, I appreciate that thread woven throughout these books. I admit experiencing full body goosebumps a couple of times as I read about Nola’s encounters with spirits. However, the hauntings are well written about, without blood and gore or outlandish “that could never happen” extremes. Karen expertly portrays ghostly situations and hauntings that are very believable…and in my own experiences, entirely possible.
Although I’ve had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans, my explorations there focused primarily on the French Quarter District.
New Orleans is one of the 15 cities on my Adventure List. Reading Karen’s newest book amplifies the longing to visit New Orleans again and explore other districts in the city such as Marigny, which lies adjacent to the French Quarter.
I love the way Karen writes about her book locations. She wonderfully captures the spirit…and sometimes spirits…of the community, weaving in vivid and accurate details that make it easy to imagine the flow of events.
If you enjoy reading a good story set in a gorgeous city with lovable, quirky characters, mysteries to solve and things that go bump in the night, I highly recommend The Shop on Royal Street. While this story can stand alone, I’d suggest reading the Tradd Street series as well. Doing so adds depth and context. You’ll thank me later!
Have you recently read a book that inspires adventures? Share it with me in the comments below.
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