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Karen’s Pick of the Week: The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

Do you live to read novels but find it difficult to finish non-fiction books even when the topic is interesting? Give historical fiction a try.  Learn about the past while doing something you love.  The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain places the reader in North Carolina after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and before the enactment of the Voting Rights Act signed into law August 9, 1965.  Enter into a world of political activism, sacrifice, confrontation, and the KKK.

White Southerner Ellie Hockley joins the SCOPE Project against the wishes of her parents and the warnings of the Scope Project leaders.  She is an anomaly.  Most of the student volunteers are from the North.  Her participation is an affront to the members of her community.  Ellie, the volunteers she grows close to, the people who provide her housing and her family will feel the ramifications of her decision. 

Forty years later, next to the Hockley house, a new house is built in the woods where Ellie used to play.  Before the new homeowner, Kayla, even moves into her house fate sends her life into a frightening spiral.  Her husband has an accident on the stairs and dies.  A woman threatens her and her child.   Someone starts trespassing on the property and the woods encase her house ominously with unfamiliar sounds.

Diane Chamberlain

Two parallel narratives with two strong female protagonists join together in the end. The reader is left with a sense of anger at the unrighteousness, the harm people can afflict upon each other, but also a sense of hope that the truth eventually comes out and those who survive are stronger in the end. 

Recommended for fans of Chris Bohjalian or Jodi Picoult. This reader enjoyed the eaudiobook

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