by Karen White
Melanie Middleton, Real Estate extraordinaire to Charleston, South Carolina, has her life turned upside down when she inherits an old, historical home from one of her clients. She also inherits a family of ghosts, a dog and housekeeper and, in a way, a writer by the name of Jack Trenholm. As Melanie reluctantly works to restore the old home to its former glory, the ghost work to tear her life apart resulting in a total upheaval of everything Melanie holds dear and forcing her to confront a few ghosts of her own.
This book was recommended to me three times before I finally picked it up. I had been looking for a good ghost story with a good history behind why the ghosts haunted. I definitely got that and more in this book. My first Karen White story ever, I was surprised not to have crossed paths with this story earlier on in my hunt for good paranormal literature. This book felt more like three books in one as Ms. White intricately weaves a trifecta of romance, paranormal and mystery all into one story that doesn’t get boring.
First, the ghost story truly is magnificent. I thought I had most of it figured out however, Ms. White managed to surprise me at the end. The history behind it was well-thought out and really well written. There’s even a bit of a treasure hunt. I felt the cold in the air whenever the ghosts were around and a chill went down my spine also every time Melanie’s phone rang. The ghost’s voices were chilling and creepy and on more than one occasion, I wanted to cry out, “TURN THE LIGHT ON!” Melanie’s ability to communicate with them was really cool although I felt her hesitation and her desire to wish them away slightly annoying. I mean, it’s not like she was new to hearing them. The paranormal part of this book was super fun for me to read and yes, I slept with the lights on as I was reading it.
Themes of abandonment and addiction plague the heroine of the story. Melanie is a sugar-obsessed work-a-holic who dives into donuts and overly sweet lattes like her father dives into whiskey. I found it odd that she so easily shrugs off her own addiction as being part of her DNA while her father pays the price of her continual disappointment in him, despite his efforts to sober up. Honestly, by the end of the story, Melanie was so whiny, hyper-sensitive and so selfish that I found myself more interested in whether or not her dad was getting better than I was in Melanie’s forgiveness of him. I failed to see strength in her which I thought odd for all she endured. Honestly, Jack and the ghost of Louisa were really the ones who seemed to save the day.
Jack Trenholm comes onto the scene with an agenda of his own and again, I’m not too sure why Melanie has so much animosity towards him. I get that she has trust issues but they seem to be inconsistent, especially considering Jack’s laid-back character. Yet, he adds a bit of fun and puts Melanie in her place on more than one occasion. Melanie’s friend Sophie is the same way. What a sunshiny-type girl! I love this character! Sophie is smart, witty and comfortable in her own skin – a pole opposite of Melanie in every way. She also adds a layer of fun and intelligence to the story.
My only disappointment was that it took me a few times to get past the serious amount of detail in this book. If you don’t know anything about victorian style decor, some of the language will be lost on you. I found myself wanting to “kick the horse” as it were to get to the good stuff. Of course, as the main character was renovating an old house, I could see the reason for all the detail. Truly, some serious research went into this book. But it did make it a slow-starter for me.
Recommendation – If you like romance, ghost stories and mystery all in one package, I would recommend this book to you. Just remember to be patient at the beginning. 🙂
Rating – ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐