The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
Melanie hates old houses. This is sort of an odd characteristic for a realtor, but she has a good reason for hating them. It is in the old houses that spirits tend to remain, and when they realize that Melanie can see them, the usually want something from her. When she approaches Nevin Vanderhorst about his house at 55 Tradd Street, all she wants is for him to give her the listing when he leaves it, but instead he leaves it to her in his will, with the expectation that she will solve the mystery of what happened to his mother, who supposedly ran away when he was very young. The house is in such bad shape that Maggie probably never would have accepted the bequest, except that it came with money with which to fix up the house. Melanie ends up with an entire cast of characters helping her fix up the house, including her best friend, her semi-estranged father, and an historical true crimes author, Jack, whose mother was friends with Melanie’s when they were younger.
Overall I really enjoyed this book, although I think I ended up liking it a little less than I thought I would, perhaps because so many people were raving about how fantastic it is. “The House on Tradd Street” had fantastic writing and a story that kept me pretty engaged, but I thought it lost a little steam towards the middle of the narrative, around the point where Marc Longo was introduced as a rival to the ‘is he a love interest?’ character of Jack. Everything also seemed to happen very quickly. Jack moved into the house with Melanie after a break-in, but the two of them had not met before she inherited the house. At one point in the middle of the book I caught myself thinking “wait, WHY is Jack here, again?”
Despite some slightly unbelievable things in the relationship between Melanie and Jack, as well as a few things that were pretty predictable, I did really enjoy “The House on Tradd Street.” I would say my favorite parts were the way Melanie interacted with the spirits, as well as the way the mystery was resolved. Although I didn’t love it quite as much as everyone else did, I’m still excited to read the sequel, “Girl on Legare Street” next week.