Before I get to my review, I want to let yall know I had shoulder surgery on Monday, and I’m not healing well from it. My posting might be spotty, as trying to get a post out takes me so much longer because of the amount of pain I’m in. Yesterday’s post was already scheduled because I expected some discomfort, but not like this. Anyway, I will post when I’m able, and I know there’s no pressure to post every day. I just want to keep everyone updated.
Told in alternating timelines, The Last House on the Street brings us to the 60s, when the SCOPE project was put into motion to help Black people register to vote. It was not a popular program. In fact, for the volunteers, it was often dangerous. Then the story takes us to Kayla in 2010 and what was supposed to be the start of a new life for her and her daughter. How will her story intersect with that of the past?
I read in another review that the reader found the dual timelines jarring. Usually, I am a huge fan of alternating timelines, but I agree with this reviewer. You found yourself comfortable in one timeline, but then you jumped back and forth throughout the book, and they didn’t quite meet until we’re nearing the end of the book. Ellie’s story in the 60s is more compelling than that of Kayla’s. The characters of the past were more fleshed out, more realistic, and their stories really resonated with me.
Overall, this is an incredible story that doesn’t gloss over the racism, oppression, and hatred that was so openly on display even so few years ago. I think I wasn’t prepared for how heartbreaking some moments were going to be, but those moments needed a voice. This story is well-crafted, and I think there is so much benefit to reading this book. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for sending this along.
About the Book:
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.