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The Last House on the Street

I could not put down The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain. We look at the places we live at today and have no idea of the history that occurred on the land. Once on a ghost tour of downtown Houston, I was admiring a large tree only to find out it was called the “hanging tree”. It went from beautiful to extremely sad in just a second. It is that kind of awareness Diane Chamberlain portrays in this well-written story.

More about The Last House on the Street

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.

1965

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.

2010

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.

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My Review

This is a riveting story told in two timelines. 1965 and 2010. In 1965 we are in North Carolina with a group of civil rights workers. They want to help black people register to vote even though they face bigotry and violence. A young woman named Ellie wants to help, even though her white family does not support her. This part of the book is brutal in places and very well written. Then, we have Kayla in 2010 who has just moved into the house she and her deceased husband built, very near to where Ellie grew up. Something about her house is cursed, not only with her husband’s death but also involving the thick woods and kudzu around the house.
I loved this book and hated to see it end.