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The Last House on the Street Bets On...

The Last House on the Street

January 2022

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE STREET is the latest book from Diane Chamberlain. While I loved her previous effort, BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN, this one surpasses it as my favorite. The novel takes place in the mid-'60s, during the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, and in the year 2010. Some characters overlap, which is not often the case with dual storylines. Here, questions can be answered by folks who are still around, though whether or not they are being totally truthful remains to be seen.

The setting is Round Hill, North Carolina, where Ellie Hockley is a college student who bucks the future outlined for her by her family. She follows her heart and heads out to fight for civil rights for those who do not yet have the right to vote. Her actions have ramifications on her family as her parents are cut off from friends and business acquaintances because of her passion. This is not known to Ellie when she is out volunteering, often putting herself at considerable risk for acting on her beliefs. And then, while everyone thought she was all but engaged to a successful young man in town, she instead is attracted to one of the other volunteers --- where a romance could carry deep consequences.

Flash forward to 2010. Kayla Carter is getting ready to move into a stunning house that she and her husband designed together in Shadow Ridge Estates, a new development in Round Hill. There is a touch of sadness to this move; she was supposed to make it with her husband and three-year-old daughter, but he was killed in an accident at the home. After she moves in, there are a number of troubling incidents that make it clear to her that people do not want them living there, and she has no idea why. Her neighbor, Ellie Hockley, knows a few secrets about this part of town. And she is back after decades of being away in California to help with her ailing mother and brother.

This book is a complete page-turner and guarantees a terrific discussion for book groups.

The Last House on the Street
by Diane Chamberlain