Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Review: The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White

Melanie, I heard again, and I pressed the receiver closer to my ear, fighting the impulse to hang up. The voice was soft and airy and most likely female, assuming it was even human.

"Hello? Who is this?"

The black hole began to pop and crackle, erupting something vile and unholy through the telephone line. I held the phone away from me, then slammed it down. But not before I'd heard the voice again. I am coming for you, Melanie. I am coming for what is mine. [ pg 35]

The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White
New American Library, 2009
Fiction; 335 pgs

Source: Many thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for the copy of this book and the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.

Rainy days seem to be particularly perfect for a ghost story, and so what better time to dive into The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White than a stormy evening? I first met Melanie Middleton a year ago, when I read The House on Tradd Street, when she inherited an old house and met true crime author Jack Trenholm. A realist and practical minded person, Melanie tried her hardest for years to ignore the voices of the dead who were speaking to her, but events in her life have made that impossible.

Melanie finds herself in the middle of another mystery, this one involving her own family. After 33 years, the mother that abandoned her as a child has returned and is seeking to re-buy the family home. That is not all Melanie's mother is after, however. A vengeful ghost is growing more powerful and is targeting Melanie and her family. Neither Melanie nor her mother could stand up to the ghost alone, but perhaps together they might be able to. The search to uncover the identity of the ghost and the ghost's rage reveal family secrets long kept buried.

The Girl on Legare Street is the kind of book I enjoy curling up with when I am looking for something light and suspenseful. There is a lot I like about the book. The author's writing style flows smoothly and I just love the Southern setting, especially being able to step inside these grand old houses, rich in history--not to mention the ghosts. The mystery itself intrigued me as family secrets and history often do. I've long been interested in genealogy, tracing my family tree and learning about the lives of my ancestors. Melanie's ancestry is rich in the area's history and I looked forward to uncovering each clue to the family's past as the story unfolded.

Melanie is as infuriating as ever. She's extremely stubborn and there were times in the book when I wanted to shake her and tell her to get over it, especially when it came to Jack. As she did in the previous book, she continues to fight her attraction to Jack Trenholm who is finishing up his book on the mystery surrounding the house on Tradd Street and helping her with her current predicament. Melanie's had to deal with a lot in her life, having been abandoned by her mother at a young age and then living with an alcoholic father. Trust does not come easy for her nor does relinquishing control. She's worked hard to be successful in her career as a realtor and to reach the point she is at currently in her life. Underneath her tough exterior, lies a more vulnerable, softer side to Melanie. Even for the times that Melanie may grate on my nerves, I do like her. She has spunk and a good head on her shoulders--at least when it comes to things other than men. And, in the end, she does the right thing.

Melanie has all her defenses up when her mother returns to her life, but as the ghost of her grandmother has tried to tell her, "we are not what we seem", so her mother's reason for leaving all those years ago may not be as cut and dry as Melanie believes. Her mother has her own secrets. Melanie and her mother have a lot of healing to do if they are to have any sort of relationship. While Melanie's relationship with Jack never seems to go anywhere, her relationship with her mother does in fact evolve over the course of the book. I could see the subtle changes in Melanie's relationship with her mother, as well as in her mother and father's relationship, the two of them having been estranged for a number of years as well.

I enjoyed my time with The Girl on Legare Street overall, even if I quickly grew tired of the back and forth between Melanie and Jack. My interest in ghost stories has increased in the last year or so and the world Karen White has created is good for a quick fix.

Rating: * (Good)

You can learn more about Karen White and her books, including The Girl on Legare Street, on the author's website. Be sure and check the TLC Book Tours website for a list of Karen White's other tour stops!

© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I purchased the House on Tradd Street a few months ago based on blogger recommendations. I have heard such wonderful comments about the author's writing style, that I really must make the time to read this one soon.

  2. I'm so excited that I won a copy of this! I really loved The House on Tradd Street and that teaser you posted makes me think that I'd probably like this one even more. I hope White writes another one of these :)

  3. So glad you enjoyed it! I have seen a lot on this book but am really not too into ghost stories, so I may have to pass on this one. Good review!

  4. I enjoyed this book even with the whining and the back and forth with Jack. I really like the paranormal element to these books and I'm looking forward to the third.

  5. Great review. It sounds like a great sequel. I have heard other good reviews on this one.

  6. Sounds like a good sequel but I guess I should read The House on Tradd Street first. I have a thing about having to start at the beginning of the series.

  7. I've got the first book from the library to read....I'm looking forward to that. Thanks for this review!

  8. I'm looking forward to reading this, but want to read The House on Tradd Street first.

  9. I'm reading this one in the next week or so and now I'm really looking forward to it!

  10. I was just looking at this one today, how funny! You must have sensed that I needed a review. I also find myself more interested in ghost stories so I will need to read this one.

  11. I enjoyed reading this book as well as The House on Tradd Street. I can't wait to read the next book by Karen White.

  12. I'm on the tour too. I'm starting it tomorrow so I only read the last paragraph. Hmm. Thanks for lowering my expectations a little?

  13. I enjoyed getting back to this ghostie type of story. I do agree with you though that the story of Melanie and Jack is getting irritating. I mean how long can you keep putting the guy off especially when there really isn't a good reason. I'm hoping in the next book Melanie finally gets together with him as they solve another ghost story. Nice review Wendy.

  14. Molly - I hope you will enjoy The House on Tradd Street, Molly. White's writing style is fairly easy going, I think.

    Jen - I hope you will enjoy it when you read it, Jen! I think you will. :-) I heard that the author is contracted to write another two books in the series--so that's good news for fans.

    Kristie - I think these books would appeal to a wider audience than many of the paranormal books out there. Fans of women's fiction might enjoy these as well. While the ghosts play a big part in the mystery portion of the story, these books delve a lot into human relationships as well. I can see how the books might not appeal to everyone though. :-) Some things are impossible to overlook. And if you don't like ghost stories at all, then I can understand your wanting to skip this one.

    Serena - There's so much to like about this book. I tried to overlook the whole Jack and Melanie thing, but it did hurt my enjoyment of the book in the end a bit hence the three star rating. I still liked it though and would recommend it to others.

    Toni - Thank you! It was an enjoyable book overall.

    Kathleen - The two books stand alone well, I think, but I understand your wanting to start at the beginning. I prefer to do that too more often than not.

    Staci - I hope you enjoy The House on Tradd Street, Staci. It was a fun read as was this one. :-)

  15. Kathy - I prefer to read books in order when I get the chance too. I hope you will enjoy the novels when you get to them!

    Lisa - I look forward to reading your thoughts on this one, Lisa!

    Christine - I hope you will give it a chance, Christine. I'd love to hear what you think.

    Melody - It's an enjoyable series, isn't it? I really like Sophie and Chad. :-)

    Stacy - Haha! It really does have its good points and I hope you enjoy it. :-)

    Dar - I get that she's been hurt in the past and opening her heart to someone is difficult, but I do like to see some growth, however small over the course of a book--or two. They don't have to be together yet--just not in the same place they were at the beginning, you know? Can you tell it really bugged me? Haha I do hope that things progress more in the next book. I'll probably wait and see what you think though before I give it a try to be on the safe side. :-)

  16. I heard so much good thing about this book that I'm thinking of getting a copy. And maybe White's other books as well :) So glad you enjoy the book!

  17. I have this author's books in my TBR and I really need to get to them. They sound wonderful.

  18. The House on Tradd Street and that teaser you posted makes me think that I'd probably like this one even more. I hope White writes another one of these :)

    Work from home India

  19. Love ur kitty layout. I'm a follower now!

  20. I usually don't read too many ghost stories, but you make this one sound fun. I love your description of Melanie. LOL

  21. Fantastic, review, thank you! I haven't read any of Karen White's books yet but they're on my tbr list and next year on a chilly, rainy day when I'm not feeling my best I will pull one out and enjoy it. I was getting the idea from some other reviews, and you confirmed it for me, that these are good books for a light, enjoyable read. Melanie's relationship with Jack sounds tedious and tiring which is disappointing. I prefer when a character grows in her relationship with other characters as it sounds like Melanie does with her mother over the course of the book.
    One think about some of Karen White's books that I already like quite a bit are the covers!

  22. Julia - I think you would like it, Julia!

    Yvonne - They are enjoyable books. I look forward to reading your thoughts on them when you get to them!

    Sanjeet - I hope you'll give them a try!

    Cindy - Thanks, Cindy!

    Wisteria - It's a fun series. I can relate to Melanie to some degree, which is kind of scary really. LOL

    Amy - Thank you, Amy! I'd be really curious to read your thoughts on one of these books if you do give it a try. These are a bit on the lighter side, I would say. Kind of makes the ghost story more palatable to those who prefer to avoid them because of the scary factor. There's definitely suspense in the series though, and a lot of it.

    The covers of her books are attractive, I agree!

  23. This book sounds perfect for a winter day when it's raining or snowing or just generally dark. :) Thanks for being on this tour, Wendy! Great review, by the way!

  24. Trish - It really does make a good read, especially with the sound of thunder in the background. Thank you for letting me be a part of the tour!

  25. Both the first and second book in this series are still in my wish list. Thanks for the review. I've seen many book bloggers read and reviewed it.

  26. I think Melanie's resistance to Jack is getting really old. Still, I loved this book even more than the first.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  27. Alice - I hope you get to red them, Alice! I think you'll like them.

    Anna - I agree with you. I think I liked this one better than the first even despite my annoyance with Melanie and Jack.


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