New York Times best-selling author Karen White invites you to explore the brick-walked streets of Charleston, where historic mansions house the memories of years gone by, and restless spirits refuse to fade away.
With her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she's awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end - and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for over a year are about to invade her life once more.
But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell it as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.
Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can't deny that spirits - both malevolent and benign - have started to appear to her again. One is shrouded from sight, appearing whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in her backyard on Tradd Street.
Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried.
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Narrator was scarier than the ghosts!
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.
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.
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.
Better editing needed! The chapters were barely separated. The narrator would read, "Chapter X" like any other sentence, and the text continued without break.
not like the earlier books. Barely got through.
- Mary Lynn White