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Tradd Street, Book 1
Description⎮Reviewed June 2017
Narrator: Aimée Bruneau
Length: 13h 11m
Publisher: Listen & Live Audio, Inc.⎮2008
4★ Audiobook⎮ June is here and the weather is heating up. Something about heat and humidity always pushes me toward Southern Lit. I usually pick up a Nicholas Sparks novel, but Karen White has been recommended to me with such emphasis that I had to see what all the fuss was about.
I could say something cheesy about how The House On Tradd Street was as Southern as sipping sweet tea while sitting on a porch swing, but won’t because White already hammered that point home pretty well. The House On Tradd Street wasn’t exactly subtle with its sticky sweet southernality. It was laid on pretty thickly and caused my eyes to roll more than once, but it was certainly true to form.
I usually prefer my Southern Lit to be a little less “on the nose”, but I’m granting The House On Tradd Street a reprieve due to its infusion of Paranormal activity. I love a good ghost story and the fact that White’s protagonist Melanie is able to see ghosts only added it more intrigue to an already compelling mystery. The primary aspect of the mystery was pretty obvious to me from the beginning, but Karen White layered it so well with smaller, intertwining mysteries that I was hooked until the very end.
It’s a testament to Karen White’s writing ability that she was able to hold my interest even though the main question (What happened to Louisa?) was completely obvious to me. I may have known the what, but it was the why that kept me listening. It was fun to hear the story White wove around the main mystery, including bits of history and scandal. This was predominantly a light listen, with darker elements peeking through at times. It was appropriately balanced and I was never afraid to turn out the lights.
The House On Tradd Street is an intriguing and well thought out foundation for the Tradd Street series. Melanie was a likable character and it’s clear that there is much more depth to her that has yet to be revealed. Karen White has put several elements successfully in play, including Melanie’s character development. Her paranormal skill set only makes me like her the more. It’s the main reason I intend on continuing with this series.
I plan to space the next four installments out from now until October. The series has just the amount of “spook” that I prefer for Halloween.
Narration review: A lot of the “sticky sweetness” I described earlier stemmed from Aimée Bruneau’s performance. In most ways, Bruneau portrayed Melanie beautifully and appropriately for a late 30s heroine. Her voice had an elegant and sophisticated tone that was pleasant to hear. She also did a phenomenal job of vocally distinguishing characters, which is always appreciated. Her sense of timing is also to be commended.
I do, however, take issue with her pseudo-southern accent in that it sounded entirely too “put on”. It sounded like how she thought a Southern accent should sound (clichéd Scarlett O’Hara) and was nearly too much to stand. I wish Bruneau would have pulled the accident some. It’s a shame because it marred her otherwise wonderful performance. ♣︎