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Jackie K. Cooper

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The Strangers on Montagu Street: One of Karen White's Best Novels

Posted: 10/28/11 04:14 PM ET

Have you picked up any books lately that are such good reading that you hate for them to end? I have to admit that for me that occurrence is rare. There are good books out there of course, but hard to put down? Not so many. That is why I am pleased to announce that Karen White's latest novel The Strangers on Montagu Street is definitely hard to put down.

This novel is number three in White's "Charleston" series. It started with The House on Tradd Street and was followed by The Girl on Legare Street. Each book is a continuation of the stories concerning Melanie Middleton, a successful real estate agent in Charleston, South Carolina. She also has the unfortunate talent of being able to communicate with the dead. This talent was passed to her through her mother's side of the family.

Melanie is in an on again/off again relationship with author Jack Trenholm, and at the start of this latest book it is definitely off. He has become engaged to her cousin Rebecca and is now just a friend in Melanie's mind. Still their "friendship" enables Jack to ask Melanie to let his thirteen year old daughter Nola live with her temporarily. Nola has arrived in Charleston and announced her presence and her relationship to Jack. It is a relationship he was not aware of prior to her arrival.

Melanie takes Nola under her wing and tries to adjust to living with a teenager. This is not easy as Nola comes accompanied by an attitude of resentment and rejection. This is why she and Jack found they could not live under the same roof at this time.

The story proceeds and ghosts enter the picture. This is because Nola receives a magnificent dollhouse as a gift and the dollhouse has ghostly inhabitants. It is up to Melanie to discover whether or not they are good or evil, and if evil then how to get rid of them.

The ghost element may be a turnoff to some readers but with the gothic sense of the novel it fits right in. Also the ghost element seems more like the "Ghost" movie and not some horror flick, especially when the ghost of Nola's deceased mother enters the picture.

Karen White weaves all these elements into a smorgasbord of literary enjoyment. Her characters are completely delicious and the Charleston locales add the seasoning. White puts it all together to form a dish of delight for readers wanting something different.

After I read the first book I was fairly eager for the second installment. After the second book I thought it should definitely not go longer than a third installment. Now, having been so totally taken in by the plot and story of the Montagu book I would read ten more. Unfortunately White has only a fourth book planned and it will end the series.

Karen White is a sure fire crowd pleaser and when she produces a new story it is always one that will be enjoyed. The "Charleston" series includes some of her best work. Each book in the series is a standalone but reading them all in order enhances the enjoyment.

Do yourself a favor and read The Strangers on Montagu Street and then do a friend a favor by recommending it to them. It is a book so good that you would never doubt someone wouldn't enjoy it just as much as you did.

The Strangers on Montagu Street is published by New American Library. It contains 352 pages and sells for $15.00.

And don't miss my interview with the author here:

www.jackiekcooper.com