Smoky silhouettes of church spires stamped against the bruised skies of a Charleston morning give testament to the reason why it’s called the Holy City. The steepled skyline at dawn is a familiar sight for early risers who enjoy a respite from the heat and humidity in summer, or appreciate the beauty of the sunrise through the Cooper River Bridge, or like hearing the chirps and calls of the thousands of birds and insects that populate our corner of the world.
Others, like me, awaken early only to shorten the night, to quiet the secret stirrings of the restless dead who wander during the darkest hours between sunset and sunrise. – An excerpt from Karen White’s The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street.
I bought this book a year ago in December 2019. Long before we knew what 2020 held for us. I chose to wait to read it this December because I needed to catch up with the books I hadn’t read in this series, so starting last summer I began the series from book one – The House on Tradd Street.
If I love a series, I will attempt to come back and finish them. I did love this series from the beginning. I read the first two books and didn’t realize that the series had continued for this long. In fact, this is book six in the series and seven will be out sometime in 2021. From a recent interview on YouTube with this author, book seven will be the last but Karen White says she has thought that before and her publisher has asked for more, so she ends her books with an epilogue in case her contract is extended.
This series of books is set in modern day Charleston and the main character, Melanie is an OCD Realtor who sees dead people and has to deal with houses that often have a few ghosts hanging around. The author says that some people say that Melanie has many of her own traits. She denies that Melanie is based on herself but does admit they have similarities and that she owns a labeling gun and knows how to use it.
Even though each book can be read alone, I would suggest reading the series from the beginning so that you can be introduced to the cast of supporting characters.
Melanie is compelled to deal with older homes, as a Realtor, but as the story begins, she actually hates them. She hates that most have a ghost or two lingering around the property that try to get her attention. She sings Abba songs to distract herself. If the ghosts weren’t enough, she also looks at the houses as money pits. As the series begins, she is not prepared when she inherits the house on Tradd Street. If not for her best friend Dr. Sophie Wallen-Arasi an archeologist who teaches at the local university and is a preservationist of old homes, Melanie probably would have sold the house at first sight.
During the series you meet more characters some good and some not so good, she adds a bit of romance, and always shows the importance of family.
Karen wrote the first book in this series in 2005 and it was published in 2008. She has written 19 other stand alone books besides this series plus a couple books that she has co-written with a couple other authors. Her stand alone books are more emotionally charged and she always looks forward to writing another in the Tradd Street series because she doesn’t have to start all over again with each book. She knows these characters and it feels like visiting old friends.
This series is infused with humor. The characters are well rounded and the plot lines are interesting. The ghost stories are not the kind that will keep you up at night by scaring you but the plot line may keep you up because of your need to finish the book.
I have a background in real estate and that may have been what initially drew me to these books. As a Realtor, I do know that most agents I worked with do have their own ghost stories. I did have one listing that made me a believer. I never actually saw a ghost and they didn’t talk to me but I definitely felt like someone was in the house with me when I knew I was alone.
Love this series and will be sad to see it come to an end. I know this author has other books for me to discover so that will hopefully ease any withdrawal pains. If you have not read this series and you like a mystery infused with a little bit of southern history centered around beautiful old homes that have ghosts, I highly recommend the Tradd Street Series. In case you’re interested – here is the order they go in:
The House on Tradd Street
The Girl on Legare Street
The Strangers on Montague Street
Return to Tradd Street
The Guests on South Battery
The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street.
I hope you are breezing through this holiday season and finding joy in each day. If I miss my Thursday post, it is because of the holidays and I have not finished my current read but I will be back next week with a new one.