REVIEW: Last House on the Street
Special thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an Advanced Review Copy to read exchange for an honest review. THE LAST HOUSE ON THE STREET is a timely read and is now available at your local bookseller!
Kayla is preparing to move into her dream home she and her now deceased husband designed, but strange things keep happening. A woman who knows too much about her tells her not to move in, and she's certain someone is watching her. Ellie, a neighbor down the street, is back in Round Hill after 45 years and seems like she has something to hide. Does Ellie have anything to do with what's happening at Kayla's new house?
This is a dual timeline story. Kayla's 2010 story is introduced first, and the strange woman who knows too much is very intriguing. Yet as the novel progresses, Kayla comes across as one dimensional. She appears caught up in her own world (granted, who wouldn't be following the tragic death of your life partner), but she doesn't show much growth even though the story takes place over what I can only imagine is a bit of time.
Ellie's 1965 story is introduced as we learn more about Round Hill, North Carolina and the history of the town. So many characters from Ellie's past are still around in Kayla's story, and it's the historical timeline in 1965 that steals the show. It's here we see growth in several characters - some good, and some not so good. I'm glad there were some characters who did try to accept Ellie's choices (even if they had their own issues to work through), because most of the other ones were pretty terrible and it makes me sad that the experiences noted here were common for the time.
While I thought it was fairly obvious where the story was going from the beginning, I still wanted to find out how everything connected. The last 70-100 pages came together to a satisfactory yet heartbreaking conclusion where all my questions were answered. I'd recommend this if you're interested in a historical fiction novel specifically about the SCOPE program. I did not know much about it, and found it very interesting. Even though voter suppression is illegal, I know there are many ways this story is still relevant today. One of my favorite aspects was the Author's Note Diane Chamberlain included as to the inspiration and history behind her writing (which you can actually read part of on Goodreads). We've come a long way since the 1960s, but we definitely have more work to do.
Content Warnings: racial prejudice & harm, miscarriage, suicide, stalking, language, sex
P.S. - Big shoutout to Babs who chatted with me throughout the novel!