Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain
Narrator: Susan Bennett
Published by MacMillan Audio on January 11, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 10 hours, 30 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
When Kayla Carter's husband dies in an accident while building their dream house, she knows she has to stay strong for their four-year-old daughter. But the trophy home in Shadow Ridge Estates, a new development in sleepy Round Hill, North Carolina, will always hold tragic memories. But when she is confronted by an odd, older woman telling her not to move in, she almost agrees. It's clear this woman has some kind of connection to the area...and a connection to Kayla herself.
Kayla's elderly new neighbor, Ellie Hockley, is more welcoming, but it's clear she, too, has secrets that stretch back almost fifty years. Is Ellie on a quest to right the wrongs of the past? And does the house at the end of the street hold the key? Told in dual time periods, The Last House on the Street is a novel of shocking prejudice and violence, forbidden love, the search for justice, and the tangled vines of two families.
I tried this author’s work for the North Carolina settings. The books I have read are historical fiction and deal with the aspects of racism and mistreatment of minorities, including women. The characters are well developed whether they are compassionate and caring or angry bigots. I was in suspense as I waited to see what would happen to these people.
The Last House on the Street tells its story of two women. Ellie in 1965, from a well to do family. She is studying pharmacology at UNC Chapel Hill. She’s in a relationship with a bank manager. She gets involved with the civil rights movement, which her family and boyfriend would rather she didn’t. She takes a summer job working with marginalized people to educate them on their rights to vote. She works with a young black man and falls for him. I could see the dangers and how horrible this could be.
Ellie’s story is interspersed with the current story of architect Kayla Carter, who is the daughter of the “bank manager” Reed. Kayla is a widow with a little girl, and her father has recently lost his wife. Kayla is moving into a home on Hockley Street, on the other end from where Ellie grew up. Ellie is back to take care of her ailing brother and mother. Kayla’s home is one she and her husband designed and built together and then he died in a construction accident. There are people who don’t want Kayla to live there.
Ellie and Kayla meet. We learn of Ellie’s past and the history of the woods and lake behind Kayla’s home including a treehouse originally used by Ellie and her brother. It’s a heartbreaking story, for many reasons. I guess one of the villains easily, but there were many prejudiced people in the town. Ellie and Kayla become friends and they find the truth about the past.
This is my first listen to this narrator. I really enjoyed her performance and her appropriate voices for male and female. She added a few regional tones and made the characters distinct. I was able to listen at my usual 1.5xspeed.
Listen to a clip:
- 🎧 The Love Wager by Lynn Painter @LAPainter@kdimerc @ZacharyWebber @BerkleyRomance @PRHAudio #LoveAudiobooks - March 30, 2023
- 🎧 Her Deadly Game by Robert Dugoni @robertdugoni @SaskiaAudio #Thomas&Mercer #BrillianceAudio #LoveAudiobooks #KindleUnlimited🎧 - March 28, 2023
- 🎧 The Kind Worth Saving by Peter Swanson @PeterSwanson3 #KeithSzarabaijka #KathleenEarly #HelenLaser @MickyShiloah @HarperAudio #LoveAudiobooks - March 26, 2023
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Sounds like another good one! Especially that 1965 North Carolina setting. 🙂
I highly recommend this author.
I’ve not read her books, but this is definitely one I want to read. Sounds like it will be tough on the emtions.
All her books I’ve read stick with you because heartbreaking but they are great books.
Nice review Anne, I’ve heard good things about this one! Those are two very interesting timelines!
It’s interesting and sad how much has changed and how much has not changed.
One day I sould try again audio to see if I connect better. In any case it looks good
It was excellent but heartbreaking.
I just got this yesterday on audio! I’m unfamiliar with the narrator, too, so I’m glad she delivered a performance you enjoyed, Anne💜
It broke my heart but I’m sure you will appreciate how well-written it is.
My daughter says my male voice isn’t very convincing. LOL I haven’t read anything by Chamberlain before, but I think I would enjoy her books.
I think you would like it. It’s very well written and heartbreaking.
I have enjoyed this author and will eventually read this one. Great review!
Thank you . It’s solid and a worthwhile read.
I’m a fan of this author and this one sounds really good. Great review!
I started because of the North Carolina settings but her writing is great.
Sounds like a wonderful mystery dipping between two time-lines. It’s so disturbing to read about bigotry and racism. It’s so unjust and it carries on into our day which is so upsetting to me! I’ve never read this author, but it sounds like she highlights some important issues. Wonderful review, Anne!
Thank you Rachel. I started reading her because of the North Carolina settings. I love her work even though it highlights the history of horrible things like racism, misogyny, etc.
This book really got to me. I thought that the author did a wonderful job with the story and it broke my heart before it was over. Great review, Anne!
Her works will gut you. If you want to feel, these are the books to read. She is an excellent author and I am trying to read all her work even though I don’t read historical fiction much and that is what most of her work is partly.
I still need to write my review for this one, but it’s a heartbreaker for sure.
Yes it is. I do appreciate the author’s ability to touch my emotions and make me fee.