The Last House on the Street, a review by Amy

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The Last House on the Street 11/20
Diane Chamberlain
352 pages
St. Martin’s Press

(3.5⭐️) The exquisite, new house at the end of Hockley Street was designed with detail and attention. But more importantly, it was designed with love by two architects eager for a happy ever after there amongst the beauty of that land.

But that land’s history is one of tragedy. And tragedy rarely stays buried.

This story is told in dual narrative. In 2010, we meet Kayla, who is recently widowed and preparing to move into the Hockley Street house she designed with her husband. It’s hard to push aside the grief over him dying on the very steps he designed. Her anxieties are quickly compounded as she and her daughter are threatened by a mysterious woman.

In 1965, twenty year old Ellie Hockley has just finished her second year of college. Her family has lived in Round Hill for generations and are well respected. When Ellie joins the newly instituted SCOPE program, where she will assist in registering black voters, she is met with opposition from everyone, including her family.

History has a place in the present day, and though nearly fifty years apart, Ellie and Kayla’s stories intersect.

Though the writing is good and the storyline is solid, I never quite connected with the characters the way I desired. The emotions that Kayla went through, grief and anxiety, are ones I’ve dealt with recently. Yet, I didn’t feel as tied to her as I expected. Likewise, I believe strongly in the causes Ellie fought for. But again, I didn’t feel her fire and zeal as if it were my own.

Chamberlain tackles timely issues from a little known historical perspective. Sadly the issues she writes about in this book are still present today, and this book offers a poignant reflection on how far we’ve come, yet how far we have left to go.

Thank you Diane Chamberlain, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book.

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