The Attic on Queen Street
reviewed by Cara DiCostanzo
“This house is more than brick, mortar, and lumber. It’s a connection to the past and those who have gone before us. It’s memories and belonging. It’s a home that has seen the birth of children and the death of the old folks, and the changing of the world from the outside. It’s a piece of history you can hold in your hands.” –The Attic on Queen Street, Karen White.
The Attic on Queen Street, by Karen White, is the seventh and final book in her Tradd Street series. The House on Tradd Street was the first in the series, which began in 2008. Readers were introduced to Melanie, the type A personality, real estate agent, party planner and ghost whisperer, who doesn’t enjoy talking to ghosts. In The Attic on Queen Street, Melanie is now married, a stepmother and has two twin toddlers, JJ and Sarah. Her Husband, Jack, has asked for a separation and is no longer living in the home. In this last book, Marc Longo, their arch nemesis, has stolen Jack’s manuscript for his latest book and published it as his own, would like to produce the film of the book at Melanie and Jack’s house in Charleston. While they are unsuccessful at stopping it, their united goal brings them closer to solving the problems of their marriage. At the same time, Melanie is trying to help her friend Veronica solve the mystery of her sister, Adrienne’s death 20 years prior, while planning a baby shower for Marc Longo’s wife, Rebecca, who is a distant cousin.
I have not read the entire Tradd Street series and I think it would have helped in some scenarios, where Melanie and Jack talk about things that happened in previous books. For example, they have found rubies in the grandfather clock in their hallway in the previous book, but if you haven’t read it, it does not explain well the backstory in this book. And the link to the Hope Diamond seems dubious at best. The author’s portrayal of being a mother with twin toddlers, a grumpy teenager while separated and working a full-time job can be hilarious though it would seem Melanie has more help than the average mother, with a full-time cook and a full-time Nanny. One thing that I did not enjoy in this last book is the separation between Melanie and Jack. I was not clear on why they separated, but apparently mistrust was at the heart of it. I found Jack dismissive, sly, and secretive and was not enjoying that piece of the novel. It felt dragged out for no reason, though it is explained at the end.
There were many things I loved about this book. While not usually a fan of historical fiction, I enjoyed piecing together the puzzle about a young girl’s death and while she was still haunting the Tradd Street house. I also enjoyed the side story of Adrienne’s death and Melanie solving that mystery, while a small red heart pillow follows her around all day long. There is humor, sadness, and tons of heartwarming moments where we envy Melanie for her cozy life in the city of Charleston. For fans of this series, there will be a spinoff series next, with Nola going to school in New Orleans with Beau, a brand-new character introduced in this book.