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“Jack’s in trouble, Mellie.  I don’t know how or why, but maybe that’s what Bonnie was trying to tell you.”

“But why me?  Why not Rebecca?”

My mother looked at me, her eyes hard.  “Let it go, Mellie.  Whatever it is you’re holding on to that’s preventing you from seeing what everybody else sees so clearly, let it go.”

I thought of Jack, and the way he’d always made me feel as if I were standing at the edge of a cliff, and how unprepared I was for the free fall if I should take a step forward.  And I had no idea what it was that made me cling so hard to solid ground.

(from The Strangers on Montagu Street, page 121 in the ARC; finished version may be different)

The Strangers on Montagu Street is the third book in Karen White’s Tradd Street series, which began with The House on Tradd Street and continued in The Girl on Legare Street.  The series focuses on and is told from the point of view of Melanie Middleton, a Realtor in Charleston, South Carolina, with a need to neatly organize every aspect of her life and the ability to communicate with the dead — a gift she’s still not sure she wants and definitely doesn’t advertise.  To best understand The Strangers on Montagu Street, you probably should read the first two books in the series, and beware that some details from those books may be included in my review of this one.

In The Strangers on Montagu Street, as in the previous books, Melanie refuses to admit her attraction to Jack Trenholm, the true crime writer who helped her unravel the mysteries associated with the house she inherited on Tradd Street and her mother’s home on Legare Street.  Their banter is humorous, but I always want to reach in the book and give Melanie a good shake; you can cut the sexual tension with a knife, and why she refuses to accept her feelings for Jack is beyond me.  Well, this time, the two have more to worry about than their relationship (or lack thereof).  Jack just learned he has a 13-year-old daughter, Nola, who is struggling to come to terms with her mother’s death and is convinced that Jack wants nothing to do with her.  He has no idea how to handle a teenage girl, so he turns to Melanie for help.

Melanie knows what it’s like to feel abandoned by her mother, so she takes Nola into her home, and of course, that means Jack is around more often.  Not only does Melanie have her hands full with a teenager and her career, but she also must juggle her concerns for Jack, whose career is in limbo, and the ghosts in her home that have set their sights on Nola.  Melanie senses the protective spirit of Nola’s mother, Bonnie, but there’s a darker entity connected to the antique dollhouse given to Nola by her grandmother.  The dollhouse is a replica of an old house on Montagu Street, and Melanie, Jack, Nola, and Melanie’s mother befriend the old woman who lives there.  They all must work together to solve the mystery of the woman’s past — which is connected to the disappearance of her brother in 1938 — if the spirits attached to the dollhouse are to find peace.

The Strangers on Montagu Street offers exactly what readers of the Tradd Street series have come to expect:  Melanie’s quirkiness, drama between her and Jack, and plenty of restless spirits.  This is my favorite book in the series so far, mainly because Melanie isn’t as annoying as I’ve found her in the past.  Her character showed a lot of evolution this time around, and even though she is still a bit thick-headed, she really has grown on me.  Jack is one of those hard-to-resist characters, especially when he’s being protective of Nola, and the addition of Nola was a breath of fresh air.  She is very mature and intuitive, brings out the best in Melanie, and is spunky and likable.  I can’t wait to see where White takes her next.

White has become one of my favorite authors in recent years, and like her other novels, The Strangers on Montagu Street is a comfort read.  It’s light and fun, with just the right touch of drama, romance, and Southern culture.  However, I was a bit distressed by the shocker of an ending, mainly because I hate having to wait for the next installment in the series.  Rest assured, though, that the mystery associated with the dollhouse is wrapped up by the end, but White definitely knows how to get readers excited for the next book.  I waited for two years for this book, and I really hope I don’t have to wait that long again!

Check out my reviews of other Karen White books:

The House on Tradd Street
The Girl on Legare Street
The Lost Hours
On Folly Beach
Falling Home
The Beach Trees

Courtesy of Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting, I am giving away the first two books in the series, The House on Tradd Street and The Girl on Legare Street, to one lucky winner. To enter, please leave a comment with your e-mail address and tell me what intrigues you about this series. Because Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting is shipping the books, this giveaway is open only to readers with addresses in the U.S. and Canada. The winner will be chosen randomly from comments received by 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, December 4, 2011.

**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Strangers on Montagu Street from Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting for review purposes. I am an IndieBound affiliate and an Amazon associate.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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As part of the blog tour for the latest novel in Karen White’s Tradd Street series, The Strangers on Montagu Street, Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting is offering a copy of the book, slated for release on Nov. 1, to one of my readers.

Psychic Realtor Melanie Middleton returns — only to be greeted by a house full of lost souls.

With her relationship with Jack as shaky as the foundation of her family home, Melanie’s juggling a number of problems. Like restoring her Tradd Street house — and resisting her mother’s pressure to “go public” with her talent, a sixth sense that unites her to the lost souls of the dead. But Melanie never anticipated her new problem…

Her name is Nola, Jack’s estranged young daughter who appears on their doorstep, damaged, lonely, and defiantly immune to her father’s attempts to reconnect. Melanie understands the emotional chasm all too well. As a special, bonding gift, Jack’s mother buys Nola an antique dollhouse — a precious tableaux of a perfect Victorian family. Melanie hopes the gift will help thaw Nola’s reserve and draw her into the family she’s never known.

At first, Nola is charmed, and Melanie is delighted — until night falls, and the most unnerving shadows are cast within its miniature rooms. By the time Melanie senses a malevolent presence she fears it may already be too late. A new family has accepted her unwitting invitation to move in — with their own secrets, their own personal demons, and a past that’s drawing Nola into their own inescapable darkness… (publisher’s summary)

I will be reading and reviewing The Strangers on Montagu Street soon, but in the meantime, you can check out my reviews of the first two books in the series:

The House on Tradd Street
The Girl on Legare Street

To enter to win a copy of The Strangers on Montagu Street, simply leave a comment with your e-mail address and tell me your favorite spooky or creepy read that would be perfect for the dreary Autumn months.  This giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada and will close at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, November 6, 2011.

**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**

Disclosure: I am an IndieBound affiliate and an Amazon associate.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

Read Full Post »