Title: The Last House on the Street
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 11, 2022
Page Count: 346
My rating: 5 stars
About the book:
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.
The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain is a historical mystery/thriller novel. The story is told in two timelines with on in the past in 1965 and the other taking place in 2010. The point of view changes between the characters just as it’s changing between the timelines.
In 2010 Kayla Carter is an architect who had spent years planning her dream home in Round Hill, North Carolina with her husband and had been planning to move in with her husband and daughter. However, as construction was happening Kayla’s husband died in an accident so now that the home is ready she is worried about living there alone with her daughter. It doesn’t help Kayla’s confidence when she is approached by a mysterious woman who knows too much about Kayla’s family.
In 1965, Ellie Hockley was a college student who was just finding her way in the world. Growing up in Round Hill Ellie had adored her aunt who was all about making a change in the world so when Ellie learned about a civil rights movement helping to register black voters she wanted to take part. Of course Ellie’s family was not happy to have their perfect southern daughter in the middle of the civil rights movement but Ellie still left for the summer.
The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain is the type of novel that really feels like a reader is going into it reading two seperate novels at the same time. Of course I knew that somehow the past would tie together with the more current timeline and became just as invested in both stories as the began to build. There’s tension in the present while the mystery of the past unfolds and of course it all ties together nicely after a few twists and turns. Definitely one to pick up that felt just as if the author brought the past to life within the pages.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and (London) Sunday Times best-selling author of 27 novels. The daughter of a school principal who supplied her with a new book almost daily, Diane quickly learned the emotional power of story. Although she wrote many small “books” as a child, she didn’t seriously turn to writing fiction until her early thirties when she was waiting for a delayed doctor’s appointment with nothing more than a pad, a pen, and an idea. She was instantly hooked.
Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and lived for many years in both San Diego and northern Virginia. She received her master’s degree in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker in both San Diego and Washington, D.C, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, working primarily with adolescents.
More than two decades ago, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which changed the way she works: She wrote two novels using voice recognition software before new medication allowed her to get back to typing. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she’s able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy travel schedule.
Diane lives in North Carolina with her significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and their odd but lovable Shetland Sheepdog, Cole.
Please visit Diane’s website at http://www.dianechamberlain.com for her event schedule and for more information on her newest novel, Big Lies in a Small Town, as well as a complete list of her books.
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