Every fall I go into my Audible app and download a book from a women’s paranormal fiction series I’ve been re-reading since 2013 when I first discovered it. I’m not sure what it is about fall that gives me the urge to listen to these books again and again. I think it may have to do with cider donuts in New England. That might sound strange, but you’ll see.
I will say there’s always a book from this women’s paranormal fiction series downloaded to my Audible app, because I find the narrator’s voice to be that soothing. I keep the audiobook there to bring me comfort in situations that would otherwise cause distress. Like flying. I get award-winning motion sickness when I fly, and inevitably the anxiety comes creeping up on me pre-flight. I mean, do you know how embarrassing it is to puke in front of a total stranger? So I put in my AirPods and listen to Aimée Bruneau read to me.
About Jack and Melanie and General Lee.
I’m talking about Karen White’s Tradd Street series.
The Tradd Street Series
I first discovered the Tradd Street series and author Karen White quite by accident. I was in one of many cubicle jail jobs I had before finally realizing I was too stubbornly independent for traditional office work, and my days stretched endlessly into oblivion as I copied and pasted and sorted spreadsheets of data, one after the other. This was fairly mindless work, so to keep myself sane, I listened to audiobooks while I did it. But when you’re listening to audiobooks more than eight hours a day, you burn through them fairly quickly.
Once again, my library saved me. Back then, it was the OverDrive app that fed my need for audiobooks, and it didn’t matter what it was. I would filter by what was available and simply click one, download, listen, repeat. I discovered quite a few good books that way. They were all entertaining enough to pass the time, but nothing was enough to distract me from my work.
Until I found this little book called The House on Tradd Street.
Why The House on Tradd Street is Undersold
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but the cover of this book is not doing it any favors. The cover indicates this book is targeted at mainstream, Southern women’s fiction. But it’s such a quiet cover for an enthralling, chill-producing, gripping novel.
From the back cover –
Practical Melanie Middleton hates to admit she can see ghosts. But she’s going to have to accept it. An old man she recently met has died, leaving her his historic Tradd Street home, complete with housekeeper, dog—and a family of ghosts anxious to tell her their secrets.
Enter Jack Trenholm, a gorgeous writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries. He has reason to believe that diamonds from the Confederate Treasury are hidden in the house. So he turns the charm on with Melanie, only to discover he’s the smitten one…
It turns out Jack’s search has caught the attention of a malevolent ghost. Now, Jack and Melanie must unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak—and even murder.
About The Blurb
I even find this blurb lacking. Melanie Middleton is an OCD real estate agent with an alcoholic father and an opera star mother who abandoned her. She buys and sells houses in arguably one of the most famous historic districts of the US, Charleston, and oh yeah, she can see ghosts. Right there is your tension! A real estate agent who can see ghosts? Who is forced everyday to work in an environment that makes her engage with a talent she never wanted?
Jack Trenholm is wonderfully charming and dreamy, just like we want in a paranormal women’s fiction novel hero. The mystery is thick and rich and deliciously twisted. The romance is set to the perfect, teasing simmer, because you know you want five more books for this romance to play out against, and you don’t want things erupting too soon.
But how awesomely complicated is the main character?
That’s hardly addressed in the blurb, and the cover gives no clues to the tension just beckoning the reader with its taunting little finger.
So I downloaded this book because it was available, and I went about my work only to find myself stopping to back up the file and listen again. And again. And again. Then a terrible thing happened –
The book was distracting me from my work. I devoured all of the Tradd Street books that were available at the time and waited with bated breath for the next book to drop.
Let’s Talk about Melanie
I see a lot on the Interwebs about Melanie being a “strong, independent woman” and how this has turned readers off because they’re tired of strong, independent female characters, but I would disagree with this. Melanie isn’t strong at all. She’s just a regular woman trying to get by in life like everyone else. She faces all of the regular struggles every woman faces with the added baggage of an alcoholic father and an absent mother. Each element of her back story layers in to explain exactly why Melanie is the uptight, controlling, OCD woman she is.
Because, gosh darn it, she’s just trying to make it!
So yeah, I would disagree with the reviews about the strong, independent woman. Melanie is just you and me. She’s trying to get through life with some added baggage and the ability to see dead people.
Author Karen White has stated in interviews about the series that her love of Nancy Drew and Lois Duncan as a child inspired this story, so any fellow Nancy Drew lovers, will find a delightful read in all of White’s books. (Trust me. I’ve read most of them.)
A cast of the quirky best friend, the indomitable housekeeper, and of course, the spunky little dog, General Lee, lovingly round out this paranormal women’s fiction series.
There are currently five books in the series with the sixth book, The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street, releasing on October 22, 2019. Now is the time to start binging this series in preparation for the drop of the next book. And you’d better believe The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street will be downloading to my Audible app as soon as the book drops on the twenty-second.
I did tell you I’d explain the donuts, right? Well, every morning Melanie Middleton goes to Ruth’s bakery in Charleston and gets two donuts and a latte. Two donuts. And a latte. Every time I read about her getting those donuts, my mouth freaking waters. So as fall in New England roars its way through the White Mountains with its pumpkin spice and apple picking, the mere mention of cider donuts has me reaching for another Tradd Street story.
Karen White is a pretty cool author by my standards. She writes standalones, the Tradd Street series, and collaborates with two of my other favorite authors, Lauren Willig and Beatriz Williams. White lives down South near Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two very adorable Havanese puppy dogs. You must follow her on Facebook or Instagram to see the two cuties. White writes what is called grit lit. It’s Southern women’s fiction with a smart edge that usually tends towards mystery and some pretty heavy issues that give her stories some weight.
Have you read The Tradd Street series?
Tell us what you thought in the comments. But please – no spoilers.