Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

 The Last House on the Street

Book Summary

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.

My Thoughts

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain is a dual-timeline novel.  We meet Ellie a twenty-year old Caucasian who signs up for the SCOPE project.  Kayla in 2010 is a recent widow with a young daughter.  Her husband died before their dream home was completed.  It is the only house in a new development and Kayla is warned away.  Just outside the development is a home that has been there for three generations and the dying owner refuses to sell.  After Kayla moves into her new home, she meets Ellie Hockley who grew up in the old home and they become friends.  Kayla can tell, though, that Ellie has secrets.  Something happened in this area almost fifty years ago.  Is it time for the secret to come to light?  The Last House on the Street contains good writing, but I thought the pacing was slow.  As I kept reading, I was wondering if the book would ever get moving.  I enjoyed Ellie’s story more than Kayla’s.  Ellie’s story tells of the bigotry, violence, and hatred that was prevalent in the south during this time.  There was a great deal of unrest in the south. It was interesting learning about the SCOPE project.  Ellie’s character was significantly more developed than Kayla’s.  For most of the book, Kayla is unnecessary.  Her character lacked emotion and depth.  As I read, I could soon see how everything tied together and how the story would play out.  I wish the storyline had not been so obvious.  I had trouble getting through the first two thirds of the book because of the slow pacing and there was little action up to this point.  The ending nicely wrapped up the story.  This was not my favorite Diane Chamberlain story.  It was not the same caliber as her last novel.  The Last House on the Street is an emotional and dramatic story that will take you back to 1965 in North Carolina.  

The Last House on the Street is available from Amazon*.  You can find Diane Chamberlain's other novels here.  Thank you for reading my review today.  I will be back tomorrow with A Three Book Problem by Vicki Delany.  It is the seventh A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery.  I hope everyone has an uplifting day.  We need more positivity in our lives.  Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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