Review of THE GIRL ON LEGARE STREET by Karen White (see her website)
NAL Trade, November 2009
Realtor Melanie Middleton stays busy and organized. She's really over Jack, who betrayed her. As for her mother, who deserted her when Melanie was seven, that's the past--and she never wants to have anything to do with the woman again. All of a sudden, though, her mother is back in her life, buying back the family home that Melanie knows is home to ghosts, Jack can't seem to stay away, and there's this other woman who seems to have her eyes firmly set on Jack...and on Melanie.
When a century-old sailboat is recovered, complete with a body in a trunk, the evil spirit that has been haunting Melanie grows far stronger. It wants something from her, and wants revenge for the evil it believes was done to it. As Melanie investigates the past, she learns that her family might once have been involved with plundering shipwrecks, or possibly even leading ships to their destruction. Then there's the matter of the mysterious necklaces with initials that don't seem to make sense. Melanie's mother had only one daughter, her mother had one daughter, and even her grandmother's mother had only one daughter--so why is there a portrait of two girls, almost identical, wearing matching necklaces?
Author Karen White spins an intriguing story of family secrets, haunting spirits, and people who can't seem to get their relationships straight. I had a hard time with Melanie, who seemed to go through much of the book holding her ears so she didn't have to listen to her mother or Jack explain why they'd done what they did, instead holding onto her anger. Considering the way she treated them, Jack and her mother seemed remarkably patient. Of course, Melanie was not the only person with relationship problems. Her parents, long divorced, still seem fixated on one another, but her father refuses to believe in the ghosts that have formed such a large part of Melanie's life and that of her mother. Admittedly, some skepticism is warranted, but if both your wife and daughter tell you that ghosts are threatening them, and you know there's no connection between the two women, wouldn't you at least consider that something might be going on?
Frustration with the characters sometimes pulled me out of the story. Still, White gives us a couple of intriguing ghosts, a look at the city of Charleston, a hint at the never-ending money-sink that is home restoration, and smooth, professional writing.
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