Heartbreaking and gut wrenching. The Last House on the Street is an utterly captivating and horrific story about racism in the south and irreparable divides in a family.
Ellie is coming into her own in the 1960s, and becomes passionate about equal rights. She joins SCOPE, an organization that was working to inform black US citizens about a possible change to voter registration laws, against her parents wishes.
Kayla is a widowed architect, raising her little girl in her own and moving into the house that she and her husband designed prior to his untimely death. She runs into present day Ellie, who seems very different from the Ellie of the 1960s.
As the dual storyline emerges, we learn more about Ellie’s experiences while working for SCOPE, including needing to hide from whites while canvassing with black SCOPE volunteers. Ellie is passionate about civil rights, and working for SCOPE helps her see the great divide in living conditions and opportunities for blacks and whites, as well as the blatant racism of the KKK and towards blacks in general. However, her passion for this cause has repercussions for her family - her dad loses customers, her mom is kicked out of bridge club. Ellie is forever changed, and cannot go back to living her old life.
Frightening things begin happening to Kayla and her daughter as she prepares to move into her new home. A strange woman threatens her, her daughter disappears.
Who doesn’t want Kayla in the house at the end of the street? What catalyzed the changes that we see in Ellie? This is one you won’t be able to put down. Diane Chamberlain has eloquently put into words the horror of racism while weaving a compelling narrative around this tragedy.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced copy.
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