Title:  The Girl on Legare Street
Author:  Karen White
Release date:  November 3, 2009
Publisher:  NAL Trade
Pages:  352
Genre:  Fiction, mystery
Source:  Publisher

In this follow-up to White’s The House on Tradd Street (my review), Melanie is back to restoring old houses and solving the mysteries inside them.  This time, it’s her grandmother’s old home, now owned by her estranged mother, which she is restoring.  And although her mother is back in her life after having disappeared for thirty years, Melanie isn’t sure she can work cohesively with her and is dead set on the fact that she will never forgive her.  Unfortunately for her, though, there is someone in the house who wants them torn apart – a ghost of her family’s past who knows that Melanie and her mother are stronger together, and she needs them weak so she can get what she wants.  It is up to Melanie, her mother, and Jack Trenholm (yes, he’s back of course) to figure out who this ghost is, what she needs, and how to get her out of the house forever.

After recently discovering Karen White’s books and reading The House on Tradd Street, I was really excited to finally get to The Girl on Legare Street.  I enjoyed Melanie the first time I met her, and I was pleasantly relieved to find that she hadn’t changed a bit between the two books.  She was just as stubborn, anal, and hysterically unself-aware as before. 🙂  I think I like her so much because she is a realistic character – instead of doing what the reader wants her to do, she sticks to her guns and makes all these silly and sometimes idiotic choices, because let’s face it, that’s what people really do.  They do dumb things because they’re trying to protect themselves from being hurt, or because their pride is too strong, or whatever.  Melanie is so great because she does what’s real.

As much as I love Melanie and I like that she acts in a realistic way, I found it very weird that Melanie and Jack’s relationship seemed to have backtracked a few steps.  At the end of the first book, they had made some significant gains in their relationship, yet as The Girl on Legare Street began, they seemed to be right back where they started from – they clearly had feelings for each other, but they were both too stubborn or too scared to do anything about it.  I was hoping that their relationship would progress throughout this book even more than it had before, but unfortunately there was a huge obstacle thrown in which prevented that from happening.  It was still funny to read about them, about all their “almost kisses”, but I was just hoping to get more from their relationship.  Although the end of this book definitely set the stage for another sequel, so we’ll just have to see what happens later on. 🙂

I absolutely loved the mystery aspect of the novel.  It really just grabbed me right away and did not let go.  I was just as interested to find out who this ghost was as Melanie and Jack were.  I liked that Melanie’s mother, Ginnette, played a significant part in solving the mystery.  I had a hard time getting over the fact that she had left Melanie so long ago, and stayed away for so many years, but I still liked her character.  Especially once I understood a bit more about why she left, I still didn’t feel that she was justified, but I respected her character a little more.

I highly enjoyed The Girl on Legare Street, and if you like mysteries with great characters and some humor, I’d highly recommend these books.