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 Hosting Mailbox Monday #148

First, I would like to congratulate (Bibliophile by the Sea) on winning Where Am I Going by Michelle Cromer from the last Mailbox Monday giveaway.

Stay tuned for the next giveaway later on in the post, but for now, let’s get to this week’s post.

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. Thanks to Amused by Booksfor hosting last month.

As host for this month, I have a couple giveaways planned, but mostly its about sharing books and the love of reading, so I hope in addition to leaving your post links in Mr. Linky that you’ll peek around Savvy Verse & Wit.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  The Time in Between by Maria Duenas for review (my second copy, look for a giveaway with the review)

2.   Twilight The Graphic Novel Volume 2 by Stephenie Meyer and adapted by Young Kim

3.  The Giver by Lois Lowry from the library sale for my daughter and myself

4.  The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis from the library sale for my daughter

5.  Who Am I? by Sesame Street from the library sale for my daughter

6.  Silly Sally by Audrey Wood for my daughter from the library sale

7. The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis for review for TLC Book Tours in early November.

8. The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White for review in November.

9. Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems by Emma Eden Ramos for review.

10. Beyond the Scent of Sorrow by Sweta Srivastava Vikram for review.

11. Soul Clothes by Regina D. Jemison for review.

12. A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead for a TLC Book Tour at the end of November.

What books did you receive this week?  Please leave your link below to your mailbox.

Now, for the giveaway for the week.  I’m holding an international giveaway for Waking by Ron Rash.  Deadline to enter is Oct. 22, 2011.

I reviewed the book earlier in the month and is my first experience with Rash’s work.  Have you read other Ron Rash books, if so which one and should I read it?

I also posted a poem from the collection in the Virtual Poetry Circle.

Please leave a comment if you are interested in this book.