Karen White is one of my favorite authors. She writes everything from romance to mystery, and does it well. Some of of my favorite books from her were what was called the Tradd Street books. The series included seven novels that took place in Charleston, South Carolina, and featured Melanie Trenholm (nee Middleton). Melanie was a real estate agent who has OCD, and therefore likes her living abodes clean and modern. She inherits an historic home in the heart of downtown Charleston that not only comes with history, but also with ghosts. It is in the first book of the series that Melanie realizes that she has the power to see into the spiritual world, something she inherited from her mother.
White ended the series after four books, much to my dismay. It was a delight, therefore, when I learned that the author was coming up with a new series featuring Melanie’s stepdaughter Nola, who doesn’t have the gift of sight, but also isn’t afraid of ghosts. Her lack of fear turns out to be a good thing, because when Nola moves to New Orleans and buys a fixer-upper, it becomes immediately clear that the house is haunted.
While Nola can’t communicate with the ghosts, her once-upon-a-time boyfriend Beau Ryan can, though he is unwilling to admit to his gift. Still, since Nola bought the house from Beau, the two are thrown together again with the goal of solving a mystery that is keeping the ghosts alive.
I enjoyed this first book in the so-called Royal series. It isn’t a horror book at all. It’s quite a light-hearted portrayal of the spiritual world. It isn’t quite a romance novel either, though there is definitely a romantic tension between Nola and Beau. The story is a bit of a romp and the characters were charming. I particularly liked Nola’s roommate, who is a southern bell with grit, an ability to cook, and the manners of a southern princess. The portrayal of New Orleans is appealing as well.
The Shop on Royal Street is a fun novel to kick off summer.