Friday, January 20, 2017

Review: The Guests on South Battery

The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street - Book 5) by Karen White

Publication Date: 1/10/2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Berkley
Genre: Women's Fiction
Pages: 352

(Received for an honest review from Berkley)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Karen White on the WEB: WebsiteTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram

Books in the series:

Tradd Street

1. The House on Tradd Street
2. The Girl on Legare street
3. The Strangers on Montagu Street
4. Return to Tradd Street
5. The Guests on South Battery

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from The Guests on South Battery, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature. 


New York Times bestselling 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 more than 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 hers 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 show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street.

Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried....


Author Karen White continues her Tradd Street series with the fifth book, The Guests on South Battery. Readers looking for a mystery and a good old fashioned ghost story will find that in more in this wonderful new book from a gifted storyteller. Melanie Trenholm is back and the apparitions from times past are coming with her. The real estate game will never be the same. 

What I liked:

Tradd Street has been one of those places readers often want to return to again and again. One of the major players in the enjoyment of this series has always been the setting. Karen White brings the historic town of Charleston to life on every page. From the historic homes and streets to the customs of southern charm this book oozes attention to detail and some awesome research skills. White never disappoints when it comes to bringing her setting to life, as well as, her characters. The sights and smells of Charleston abound in this one. 

Melanie Trenholm is one a heroine with a few quirks. I don't often like characters that are just too perfect. I want my leads to have some flaws. To seem realistic and believable. Well, White took that to heart with this character. Melanie's personality ticks are well known by readers of the series. She has a tendency to ignore problems in hopes they may go away, but in this book she seems to be showing some growth in understanding herself better. Melanie has just had twins a little over a year ago and White uses that to explore issues with self esteem and body image and I found that part of the book very satisfying. It was more than just a mystery or a paranormal tale. It had a bit of substance that I wasn't expecting.

Sometimes an author you've read over and over becomes a bit stale, formulaic if you will. The stories all seem the same just with different names and characters involved. One of the things I like about Karen White is that each of her books has a sense of freshness about it. They remain fun and not as predictable as some. She has a very good rhythm with her writing. It has a beat, a cadence that is hard to miss. 

What I didn't like:

I can't really say this is the strongest book in the series for a few reasons. In the beginning of the series we saw a lot more of Melanie's eventual husband, Jack. In this particular book, Jack takes a back seat. Melanie is returning to work and this one focuses more on her. I was a little taken aback by White's use of Jayne as not only a client for Melanie but somewhat of an interest for Jack. I wasn't expecting that and really didn't like it. That's not to say it wasn't a good idea. I just didn't want to see that happen to a couple I have followed throughout an entire series. The ending does redeem itself, but the unexpected middle was hard to forget. 

Many of you know that I love good paranormal characters. I read not only mysteries and romances but books about werewolves and vampires and everything in between. But let's face it. The original paranormal characters were all ghosts. It has been done many different ways and with all the bells and whistles, so with these characters I always want some kind of different angle. Often Karen White delivers on that. This time I felt the ghosts got a bum wrap. The parts of the story that involved them did not seem as detailed or planned out as usual. I found them a bit tedious and not as interesting as I had hoped. 

Bottom Line:

I love Karen White's writing. Her sense of setting is simply amazing. Charleston comes alive in her writing here and I think readers will really enjoy her descriptions and details about this historic town. As usual I loved Melanie in all her neurotic glory. She's not a princess and she has her quirks. Loved the body image angle with this one, but wished her new nemesis had stayed just a client. Readers who are familiar with this series need to hold on to their hats, things are a changing. The ghosts were just your normal, average spooks in this one but they still kept me turning those pages.

The Guests on South Battery is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

I grew up being a voracious reader and it was a natural step to turn my interest to writing. I have published award-winning and bestselling novels including my latest release, FLIGHT PATTERNS, a multi-generational story of love, loss and mystery set along the gulf coast of Florida in Apalachicola. FLIGHT PATTERNS was released by Penguin Random House in May, 2016.

I write what others have termed "grit-lit"--southern women's fiction, as well as a contemporary paranormal mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. All of my books are set in the US South, and feature a female protagonist at a crossroads in her life. 

On January 10, 2017, THE GUESTS ON SOUTH BATTERY--the fifth book in the Tradd Street series, will be released. I'm so excited to be continuing Melanie and Jack's story--with a whole host of characters, both old and new. 

In April, 2017 THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT will be released. Set in suburban Atlanta in the fictional town of Sweet Apple, this is the book I'm calling my "Steel Magnolias" meets "The Girl on the Train." Spanning from the Depression era to modern day, it's a story of three very different women, and the true meaning of friendship.

I live near Atlanta, Georgia with my husband, two children, and two of the cutest Havanese dogs, Quincy and Sophie. Readers may recognize Quincy as General Lee in the Tradd Street series.

Happy reading!

For more about me and my books, please visit my website at or connect on social media: Facebook:, Twitter: @KarenWhiteWrite, Instagram: @KarenWhiteWrite and Pinterest: KarenWhiteBooks.

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