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The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White

The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White combines historical mystery with romance, drama, and Southern hospitality, like all of the other books in the series, reuniting readers with Jack Trenholm — famous author — and Melanie Middleton — real estate agent for historic Charleston homes and resident, if reluctant, ghost whisperer.  Melanie can be whiny and she can grate on readers nerves with her penchant for denying her feelings for Jack and her rocky relationship with her parents.

However, in the latest installment, readers are introduced to a more evolved Mellie, a woman who can relate to a angsty and sarcastic teen girl who shows up unannounced and claims to be Jack’s long-lost daughter, Nola.  Melanie can’t help but see herself in Nola, and a maternal instinct she never knew she had rises to the surface.

“He looked better than the last time I’d seen him, and I wondered whether it was because he didn’t have the daily stress of dealing with a teenager to age him.  Still, there was something in his eyes that didn’t quite match his usual self-assured Jack-ness.” (Page 73 ARC)

White has carefully crafted this story, meshing the Nola storyline with that of the ghost mystery on Montagu Street.  As always, Marc Longo is back and more underhanded than ever, and even Mellie’s cousin and Jack’s sometime girlfriend, Rebecca comes and stir things up.  In addition, it looks like there is more restoration work to eat through Melanie’s budget as the foundation needs repairs, and did I mention she’s feeling her age — especially as her mother and Nola help to remind her how old she’s getting?

White’s humor is subtle at times and at others it’s quite obvious, but what is most engaging is her characterizations and how different and real each feels to the reader.  The Strangers on Montagu Street is the third book in the series, but it may not be necessary to read the other two before reading this one as the mystery stands alone, though if readers prefer to know the past struggles between Mellie and Jack it would be better to read the previous two.  White’s Tradd Street series is a cozy and perfect for holiday reading.

Of the three in the series, this is my favorite and since White has left me hanging at the outcome between Mellie and Jack’s latest entanglement, you can bet I’ll be reading the next one.

Reviews of White’s other books:

The House on Tradd Street (first book in the series)
The Girl on Legare Street (second book in the series)
On Folly Beach
The Beach Trees

  • I’m glad to see you liked this one. I’m planning on making time for it over the holiday! Karen is one of my favorite writers.

    • I really love Karen’s books. This was the best in the series. I’m dying for the next one.

  • I haven’t read any of these yet, but I think I’m missing out!

    • Julie: I think these would be right up your alley. You like a good cozy mystery, and if you’ve watched Ghost Whisperer, you’d definitely like these.

  • I really liked the first two books in this series, and I am looking forward to reading this over the holidays!

    • Marg, this is the best book in the series. At least I thought so.

  • I’ve got all three books in this series and need to make the time to read them. I just know I’ll like them.

    • I think you’d like this series. I hope you get to them soon.

  • This is my favorite of the Tradd Street books so far as well. I’m glad that Melanie evolved in this book because she really was getting on my nerves!

    • This is definitely my favorite of the Tradd Street books. I loved the mystery and the evolution of Melanie. I say its about time! Now if we can only have a better resolution to the Jack-Melanie mess!

  • I’ve enjoyed this series, but haven’t gotten my hands on a copy of this one yet. I do like the sound of it.

    Happy Holidays to you and Yours!

    • You have to get your hands on this one, but it will leave you wanting to read the next book right away!

  • Thank you for a lovely review

    • Thanks for stopping by to check out the review.