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Publishers Weekly, 2008-09-29 In this engaging novel from Southern novelist White (The Memory of Water), buttoned-up real estate agent Melanie Middleton, lover of order and all things modern, inherits an old house in Charleston, S.C., from a virtual stranger. Melanie can't help seeing the house as a big white elephant, especially regarding the terms; according to the will, Melanie's required to live in the house for a year, restoring it to its former glory, before she can sell so much as a piece of china. But as the house draws the attention (and ulterior motives) of a colorful group of locals, particularly GQ-handsome journalist Jack Trenholm, Melanie finds she has plenty of volunteers to help out. White skillfully balances her tale at the meeting point of romance, mystery and ghost story. The supernatural elements are not played for scares, but instead refine and reveal Melanie's true character; Melanie and Jack flirt with sparkling, snarky energy, but White also digs deeper, giving Melanie a tragic past that's handled with compassion and realism. A fun and satisfying read, this series kickoff should hook a wide audience. (Nov.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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