Series: Tradd Street #3
Genres: Paranormal Mystery
Published by New American Library on 1 November 2011
Reading Challenges: 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Melanie Middleton’s orderly life is thrown into chaos yet again and this time the culprit is her almost boyfriend Jack Trenholm. He just discovered that he has a teenage daughter called Nola and he is desperate for her help. Melanie agrees to let Nola stay with her and her family while father and daughter try to negotiate a relationship. Nola’s grandmother gives her a doll house as a sort of ‘welcome to the family’ present but unfortunately it harbours a dangerous spirit. Melanie must vanquish the spirit to keep Nola safe.
Melanie remains a fairly insecure and immature character even though she is now 40 years old. Her obsession with organising people, places and things remains. I did enjoy watching her try to take care of Nola as it pushed her out of her comfort zone and added a bit of urgency to finding out why figures kept moving around in the doll house.
Jack and Melanie’s relationship has been fraught with near misses, misunderstandings and temper tantrums. Both of them like each other but aren’t willing to discuss their feelings or really fight for the relationship. Their relationship woes add an awful lot of padding to the novel and take attention away from the mystery. This is exacerbated by Melanie not wanting to remember something crucial to the mystery. The idea of a cursed doll house was pretty cool but I think the execution could have been improved. Instead of including the side plots with Jack’s book contract and the birthday party, I wish we had been given a less abrupt ending.
I really wanted to like this series as the premise behind each of the books is really intriguing. I was hoping that Melanie would evolve (even a little) as a character and as she hasn’t, I think it is time for me to part ways with the series. If you are interested in giving the novels a whirl, please start with the first one so you don’t get confused by the relationships.