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Would you try another book from Karen White and/or Aimée Bruneau?
I'm a fan of Karen White; however, this book is not reflective of her abilities. While Ms. White's books are lighter fiction, her narratives are enjoyable and often didactic. She clearly conducts quality research when researching the topics that ground and shape her narratives. Additionally, her characters are usually multi-dimensional and tend to evolve in meaningful ways. Unfortunately for her readers, Ms. White's latest effort is not up to her own standards. Did she not think her readers would notice? Her narrative breaks basic rules of character development: show don't tell. I'm beyond annoyed at the OCD antics of Melanie, many of which are repeated ad-nauseam. And, no - this is not her "showing" rather than telling. The simplicity of her writing belies such possibilities. Ms. White's characters' in this novel are pedestrian at best and cliche for the rest of the time. As for the narration by Aimee Bruneau... Listening to Ms. Bruneau's attempts at a Southern Accent are grating. I am from Virginia, spent years in Savannah, and now live in Atlanta. My ancestors never left the South, and my maternal family is DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). Ms. White's portrayal of the contemporary South, replete with haunting histories, mysterious houses, and quirky local customs is often spot-on. Yet, the narrator's inability to pronounce words such as Abba (the rock group) and local areas in Charleston are jarring and disrupt the already weak narrative. The editing is at fault as well. There is no pause between chapters. The announcement of "Chapter X" is treated as a sentence rather than a break. More than a few times I reviewed the end of a chapter as I was sure the audio had skipped.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
Ms. White usually tells a good ghost story. Unfortunately, Ms. White's storytelling was weakened by her own lack of efforts.The least interesting?? Melanie has grown in her life, or should have. Ms. White's continued focus on Melanie's "organizational ideas" and child / family routine / spread-sheets was ridiculous and unbelievable. Southern Moms do enjoy smocked clothing and take pride in dressing their children, but readers could have done without the pedestrian interior monologues and character banter / dialogue The book grew tiresome quickly. I rarely have a desire to drop-kick fictional entities, but I was tempted to do so with the characters of Guests on South Battery.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Aimée Bruneau?
It seems logical that a narrator who has a native Southern Accent would have been the choice reader. Better yet, a narrator who has the unique low-country, Old Charleston or Savannah accent would have been ideal.
Any additional comments?
Better editing needed! The chapters were barely separated. The narrator would read, "Chapter X" like any other sentence, and the text continued without break.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
I just discovered Karen White and have really enjoyed her books. The tradd street series was very entertaining because Charleston is my favorite City. This book was quite simply very irritating. the character Melanie is so unlikeable and silly and not at all like the semi self--confident lady that the earlier books had. I feel like the reader knew what was going on far too early in the story and there was no suspense, just head-shaking numbness that the main character wasn't catching on. the fact that she's already holding back from Jack at the end of the novel lets me know that I will never read another one of these books.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful