Sunday, March 6, 2022

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain


Title: The Last House on the Street 
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: January 11, 2022

From bestselling author Diane Chamberlain comes an irresistible new novel that perfectly interweaves history, mystery, and social justice.

When Kayla Carter's husband dies in an accident while building their dream house, she knows she has to stay strong for their four-year-old daughter. But the trophy home in Shadow Ridge Estates, a new development in sleepy Round Hill, North Carolina, will always hold tragic memories. But when she is confronted by an odd, older woman telling her not to move in, she almost agrees. It's clear this woman has some kind of connection to the area...and a connection to Kayla herself. Kayla's elderly new neighbor, Ellie Hockley, is more welcoming, but it's clear she, too, has secrets that stretch back almost fifty years. Is Ellie on a quest to right the wrongs of the past? And does the house at the end of the street hold the key? Told in dual time periods, The Last House on the Street is a novel of shocking prejudice and violence, forbidden love, the search for justice, and the tangled vines of two families.

As always an interesting topic with an excellent narrative. Diane Chamberlain never disappoints me.

The Last House on the Street is set in Round Hill, NC. It has two timelines. The first one is in 1965 and the second one in 2010. 

In 1965, Ellie Hockley is a college student at UNC when she gets involved in the Civil Rights movement. Ellie decides to join the SCOPE project to make a difference. The program entails having white people motivate black people to vote.  

By joining SCOPE, Ellie alienates her family, her friends, and worse she becomes someone the Klan is interested in. Ellie doesn't care about any of that after she starts visiting the homes of black people and learning about the importance of them voting to get the help they need like new roads, electricity, etc.

In 2010, Ellie is returns to North Carolina for the first time in over four decades. Ellie is back to take care of her dying brother and her elderly mother too. 

In this same timeline, we also meet Kayla. Kayla Carter is an architect. She is also a recent widow. Her husband was an architect too and he died in an accident in her new home located in Shadow Ridge Estates. 

Kayla has mixed feelings about the new home. On the one hand, the house was the dream that she and her husband created. On the second hand, she doesn't feel safe living there when weird things begin to happen. 

There are so many questions...

What happened to Ellie in 1965? What is the connection between Ellie and Kayla? And why is someone threatening Kayla and her daughter? 

The Last House on the Street was quite an interesting, compelling and engaging novel. I was fearful for Ellie and Wyn from the very beginning. I was also trying to guess what happened and fearing the worst. For me, hands down, the 1965 timeline was much more addicting than the contemporary one. 

Why not a 5? I just didn't quite believe the big revelation at the end. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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