I received this book for free from the Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 11, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Women
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A community’s past sins rise to the surface in New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain’s The Last House on the Street when two women, a generation apart, find themselves bound by tragedy and an unsolved, decades-old mystery.
Growing up in the well-to-do town of Round Hill, North Carolina, Ellie Hockley was raised to be a certain type of proper Southern lady. Enrolled in college and all but engaged to a bank manager, Ellie isn’t as committed to her expected future as her family believes. She’s chosen to spend her summer break as a volunteer helping to register black voters. But as Ellie follows her ideals fighting for the civil rights of the marginalized, her scandalized parents scorn her efforts, and her neighbors reveal their prejudices. And when she loses her heart to a fellow volunteer, Ellie discovers the frightening true nature of the people living in Round Hill.
Architect Kayla Carter and her husband designed a beautiful house for themselves in Round Hill’s new development, Shadow Ridge Estates. It was supposed to be a home where they could raise their three-year-old daughter and grow old together. Instead, it’s the place where Kayla’s husband died in an accident—a fact known to a mysterious woman who warns Kayla against moving in. The woods and lake behind the property are reputed to be haunted, and the new home has been targeted by vandals leaving threatening notes. And Kayla’s neighbor Ellie Hockley is harboring long buried secrets about the dark history of the land where her house was built.
Two women. Two stories. Both on a collision course with the truth--no matter what that truth may bring to light--in Diane Chamberlain's riveting, powerful novel about the search for justice.
This was truly a wonderful book! I have heard great things about this author’s work but for one reason or another I had never actually picked one up myself so this was my first experience with her work. To say that I am impressed would be an understatement. This book not only entertained me it made me think and sometimes made me rather uncomfortable. Diane Chamberlain definitely has a new fan.
This book is told from two different points of view. Kayla’s point of view is set in 2010. Kayla is a young widow and mother of a small child. She is ready to move into the home that she designed with her husband in a new development but feels uneasy about the move. Ellie’s story takes place in 1965. Ellie signs up to be a part of the SCOPE program that wants to help the black community register to vote. She is assigned to live in the community with a black family and is able to experience the poverty that they live with on a daily basis.
I have often found that when a book is told in dual timelines, I usually gravitate towards one timeline more than the other. With this book, I enjoyed both timelines equally and when they finally came together I was in awe of how perfectly the pieces all seemed to fit. I found myself thinking of this story when I wasn’t reading and am angry at the injustices that the characters endured. I thought that descriptions were quite vivid and helped to bring an emotional element to the story.
I would highly recommend this book to others. I thought that it told a powerful story that will stay with me for a while. I will definitely be reading more of this author’s work in the future.
I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press.