Monday 17 January 2022

Book Review | The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain | prettylittlewriter

This novel is going to stick with me for a very long time.

‘2020. A recently widowed architect moves into the home she and her late husband designed. When disturbing things begin to happen, it's clear that someone is sending her a warning. Who is trying to frighten her away, and why? It is only when she meets an elderly neighbour that she learns the street has a shocking and tragic past. A past that some will go to any lengths to keep hidden. 

1964. A young white female student becomes involved in the fight for civil rights in North Carolina, falling in love with one of her fellow activists, in a time and place where an interracial relationship must be hidden, especially from the reemerging Ku Klux Klan. As tensions rise in the town, she realises not everyone is who they appear to be.


Decades later, past and present are set to collide in the last house on the street...’

This book had me all over the place emotionally. Diane’s writing is incredible. I was cringing, gasping, on the verge of tears (who am I kidding, I was crying A LOT) for the dear souls within this novel. From Mattie and Dee Dee, to Winston and Ellie, I couldn’t have felt more involved in each of their lives thanks to the way Diane draws you in.

There are some truly vile characters in this book; so disgustingly horrifying that you want to jump into the novel and kill each and every one of them. And what saddens me the most, is that a lot of what happened within this novel, is what would have happened to thousands of black people in real life. I’ll still never get over the fact that people were (and can still be) so cruel and disgusting to another human being because of their skin colour.

Back to the book now, before I keep ranting.

I enjoyed both characters, Ellie & Kayla, and their separate chapters, and how it all cleverly came together at the end. Kayla’s was a bit more of a slow burn, but that was only because Ellie’s story needed to be told before we could really see how the two intertwined.

Winston was my favourite character throughout; a pure soul, full of heart and gumption, and I’m still reeling from what happens to him (I did guess about ¼ of the way through the novel that something like that was going to happen, I just desperately didn’t want it to be true).

All that remains for me to say about this novel really is that I urge you all to read it. It’s powerful, raw, heart-breaking and brilliantly clever, and I think everyone needs to read this incredible novel.

5/5 stars

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