Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Guests on South Battery - Fiction/Mystery Review

Rating: Good
Source:  Goodreads

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....

Genre: Mystery/Paranormal/Women's Fictioon

Why I Picked This Book:
  I've been wanting to read this series forever because it has ghosts and home renovations and Charleston which are pretty much high points on my list of favorite things.  

My Impression:
What I Loved:
Pretty much the whole plot.  I loved the old houses.  I loved figuring out why Jayne was left this old house.  I loved the archeology style dig in the backyard and seriously anytime anyone mentions secret passages I'm all in and ready to pull out my Nancy Drew notebook and magnifying glass.

The setting!  Charleston was so well developed it was a character in it's own right.  I really want to go back for a visit and gawk at all the gorgeous old houses.

The pacing.  I felt like this was a pretty fast read and it was never one I had any difficulty getting into.  I'd pick it up just planning to read a page or two and put it down three or four chapters later.

What Didn't Work For Me:
The characters and how they interacted with each other.  This was the main thing that dropped this from a 4 star really liked to a 3 star liked it mostly rating.  Where do I even start - So Melanie is over the top with the tracking the twins every move which would have been a little eye rolly but what really bothered me was how she and her husband Jack treated the whole parenting thing.  Everyone has a different style of doing things but it annoyed me that Jack mocked all her charts and spreadsheets and just didn't do them but at the same time she set up this whole complex system and expected him to abide by them especially since it did seem like they were sharing caregiving.  As well everyone's attitude over Melanie's weight was just plain weird.  I was okay with her stepdaughter wanting her to eat healthier but all the comments from everyone around her as well as her favorite bakery refusing to sell her donuts was just weird.  As well her complete denial that the reason that her clothes and shoes didn't fit wasn't because they had shrunk but because her body had changed.  The twins have been around for months.  What was she wearing during her maternity leave?  The denial felt so complete that it was a bit bizarre.  *deep breath* End Rant.

There were a few plot points that felt unresolved or just disappeared that felt a little strange.  I know this is a continuing series so maybe that has something to do with it but I found it a little jarring.

Why I do feel a little ranty about what didn't work for me I did enjoy the reading experience of the book.  I loved the ghosts the discoveries, and the overall feel of the series.  I wonder if the characters would have annoyed me so much if I had been a long time reader of the series.  This is probably one of those series that is probably best started from the beginning but it can be enjoyed if starting here.  If you love ghosts and old houses and don't mind characters that sometimes need a good shaking I think you'll enjoy this series.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would.  This is the second book by Karen White - the other was one of her more women's fiction - and have enjoyed her writing style in both.  I am looking forward to reading the first of this series and maybe getting to know Melanie a little better so I don't want to smack her.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  I would but would recommend you start with the first book.


  1. This is a series I do want to read and will as any book I have read by KW I have liked. And I can see why you would rant about how everyone goes on about Melanie's weight. Weird alright.

  2. I get annoyed with weight shaming in books! Probably because I'm fat and I like the odd donut...!

  3. SO sorry the characters were what didn't work for you. I feel that can ruin a book for me for sure. Hope the first one is better!

  4. I want to start this series with book #1. I would probably get annoyed with the weight issues too.

  5. I read the first two books in the series but this one sounds like one I could skip - too many things you point out that would annoy me.

  6. I have just started reading this author and loved The Night the Lights Went Out and Dreams of Falling.

  7. I've enjoyed many of White's other books but haven't tried this series. I don't think its for me. Your honest review is much appreciated.

  8. I haven't yet read this one, but my sentiments about the characters in the early books are very similar. It's what's kept me from loving the series, unfortunately. But I love the setting and the writing and the atmosphere.

  9. I think that I would have had the same issues with the characters as you did. Too bad they were an issue since the plot sounds interesting.