I have been singing the praises of author Diane Chamberlain. She’s written some awesome books that I’ve been super excited about and have written reviews for here on the blog. The Last House on the Street is her latest book and it’s our Book Club book for May with discussion to happen today June 1st.
The Last House on the Street is considered historical fiction. Amazon readers gave it 4.6 stars.
Here is the synopsis from Amazon:
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.
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.”
I’d love you to write in the comments what you thought of the book. You can also answer some of the following questions.
How did you feel after you learned of Brenda and Miss Pat’s involvement in Winston’s death? How do you imagine Ellie felt?
At the end, in chapter 52, Ellie admits that she and Reed may have ended up together in another lifetime. What do you think is the meaning behind this statement? Do you believe this could have been true?
What significance does Kayla’s house and all of the Shadow Ridge development mean to the town of Round Hill?
Here is my opinion of the book. I loved it…but that is so hard to say. Even though this book is fiction, people actually lived in similar situations. These types of things really happened and that leaves me conflicted to say that I enjoyed the book. How can I enjoy someone else’s pain?
I loved Ellie from the very beginning. When I read a book, I like to almost pick a character and pretend it’s me. In this book, I was Ellie. I can see myself as a young girl doing just what Ellie did.
I do wonder about Ellie though…for how smart and with it she was on the campaign trail of getting the vote to right out, how was she so ignorant about the views of her family. How did she not know her parents were so against people of color?
I know several times in the book, I found myself saying “Ellie no. That’s a bad choice. Don’t do it.”
I do think in another time Reed and Ellie could have been together. If they had come of age five years earlier the height of Civil Rights likely wouldn’t have been there. Girls going to college likely wouldn’t have been as accepted. I can see them having gotten married.
I did guess early on that Brenda’s husband was likely part of the clan and the “falling down the stairs” was likely not the actual truth. Did you?
One more comment. Miss Pat does not deserve the title Miss. I don’t know if I could have been so kind as to not have her put in prison. The same for Brenda.
Your turn to share…what did you think of the story?? Please leave a comment.