"I wish we had found us a different place to build our home." ~ pg. 182
The Last House on the Street sounds like an ominous title, right? Well the story lives up to it. There is a new housing development in Round Hill, North Carolina. It plans to be home to Kayla Carter and her four-year-old daughter but unfortunately, her husband died in an accident while building their dream home there. One stranger tells her not to move in while a neighbor named Ellie is more welcoming. Both seem to have some kind of connection to the area that goes back almost 50 years.
I avoid novels told in dual time periods/multiple POVs; however, Diane Chamberlain is a consistent 4-or-5 heart rating so I trust and read everything new of hers the moment it is available. The Last House on the Street being no exception. Then I read her author's note on Goodreads which described her inspiration behind writing the story and passion for civil rights, voting rights for people of color and the SCOPE (Summer Community Organization and Political Education) program. Fiction based on reality? Count me all in! So I made a cup of peach tranquility tea and settled in for two (2) full days of reading.
"It shouldn't be an 'us versus them' thing." ~ pg. 139
The Last House on the Street is two completely different stories with a couple links. Because I am easily confused by dual time periods, I read this book in a way that is not traditional or intended. The chapters alternate narration between Kayla in 2010 and Ellie in 1965. So I read all of Kayla's chapters first then went back to read all of Ellie's chapters in sequence. Because of my reading style, it made it all the more apparent how different the storylines were. Kayla's is very mysterious and modern. Ellie's is heartbreaking with a focus on social injustice.
I don't know how the author managed to interweave this novel with such perfection but she did the damn thing! I stayed up late turning the pages of Ellie's story set in summer 1965 as a freedom fighter with elements of racism, voting rights and forbidden friendships. I even shed a tear, y'all. Then how it connected to Kayla's life 45 years later was an ending I did not expect. It could have been two separate novels but somehow it worked as one powerful tangled tale! The Last House on the Street is so well written that it will stick with me for a long while. Highly recommended the minute it hits bookshelves!
Happy Early Pub Day, Diane Chamberlain! The Last House on the Street will be available Tuesday, January 11, 2022.
Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.
Title: The Last House on the Street
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Published: January 2022
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤