“The Guests On South Battery” by Karen White is part paranormal, mystery, historical, with a little romance. Readers will be kept enthralled with the scenes of historic Southern houses and spooky happenings.
White has done a lot of research on the subject of ghosts. “I describe this series as my ‘Sixth Sense’ meets ‘National Treasure’ meets ‘Moonlighting’ series. There were certain parameters I wanted to include in this series: It had to be in the South with the city old, charming, and having a lot of historical significance. I wanted to set the plot around haunted houses. Every culture, every religion has them existing. I think there is a lot about the universe we do not understand. So yes, I do like the possibility. I do think people can communicate with the dead and I find it fascinating.”
The mystery begins after a young woman, Jayne Smith, is bequeathed a home in Charleston by someone she does not know. Questions arise as to why she randomly inherited this house and what is her relationship with the spirits who do not want her to inhabit it? She seeks out Melanie Middleton, a Charleston realtor, who specializes in historic real estate. She also has a hatred for old houses because she sees dead people come alive. White’s details about the architecture, history, old historic houses including hidden passages and other fixtures, make the story even more riveting.
Jayne and Melanie become kindred spirits after Melanie hires her as a nanny. Intertwined within this ghostly story is also the theme of family. The different relationship dynamics are fascinating. Both Melanie and Jayne have abandonment issues; Melanie is insecure about her husband Jack; and her mother is struggling to make up for lost time now that she is back in her daughter’s life.
According to White, “Melanie, as a young child, was abandoned by her mother, but it was done to save her. Because Melanie’s alcoholic father raised her she had to be the adult in the relationship. Her sense of insecurity stems from this. She has two personalities, the public and private. Outwardly she appears strong and competent, but inside she is like a quivering bowl of Jello: neurotic, OCD, and a control freak.”
This book is an excellent read. It seems any Karen White book never disappoints with her spellbinding plot and cast of characters. The charm of the series is the relationships the main character Melanie has with friends and family.