Book Review Jackie K Cooper
Return to Tradd Street by Karen White
Melanie Middleton is the heroine of author Karen White's Tradd Street series of books. In the fourth and final book of the series Melanie's problems with family, friends and ghosts come to a head. If she can't get all of them reconciled she might just lose the love of her life forever. This problem makes for highly entertaining and interesting reading set against the backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina.
As this latest book opens Melanie is back in her house on Tradd Street, feeling fat and 40. She has rejected the offer of marriage from her true love Jack Trenholm because she thinks he made the offer only because she is pregnant with his child. She has decided she will have her child and raise it on her own without a Mrs. in front of her name.
Jack of course has other ideas. Even if Melanie will not accept his proposal he will be an equal parent of their child. He did not get a chance to be involved in the early raising of his other child Nola and he will not be shut out again. His determination soon wears down Melanie's objections and they agree to parent together.
While the pregnancy is proceeding Melanie hears the sound of a baby crying. She knows there is no baby in her house so she figures a ghostly presence has once more made itself aware to her. This is not the first time this has happened in Melanie's life. She has heard and seen ghosts in the past as has her mother. This latest ghostly sounding leads her to investigate the history of the owners of her Tradd Street house.
There is usually a problem writing about ghostly occupants in the basic foundation of a story but White incorporates them so easily and believably that readers accept it all without question. This is just part of the charm of this series of books and of Melanie's. Still White keeps the character on solid footing with all else in her life so the supernatural does not dominate the story.
Return to Tradd Street is a book with the right combination of chills, thrills and romance. The ghosts provide the mystery element but it is the combination of Jack and Melanie's personalities that provide the romance. Readers love the on again off again love affair in which these two have been involved and in this book it is finally resolved.
Melly and Jack are characters who have been completely embraced by White's readers. They have made the first three books in this series hugely popular and they will make this one the biggest success of all. Karen White knows these characters and she knows how to play them to the audience. She is successful and so is the book, which has love, passion, humor and a few hauntings in equal measure.
Set aside a few days in your schedule for Return to Tradd Street. Once you submit yourself to the wonder of "the Holy City" of Charleston you won't be able to return to normal until the final pages have been read. Karen White saved the best of this series until last and her readers reap the benefits.
Return to Tradd Street is published by New American Library. It contains 336 pages and sells for $15.00.