I’m not too sure that I’d read much about this book before starting it – if I’m honest, I’d completely forgotten what the premise was, and so from the title alone, I was expecting a thriller. It certainly is a thriller, but also so much more, and I absolutely loved it.
The novel begins in 2021 with Kayla Carter, an architect, mother and recent widow. Her husband has died whilst building their dream home – the showcase house on a prestigious new development. As she plans to move into the house with her young daughter, Kayla, she receives an unexpected visitor in her office. What she wants to tell Kayla really chilled me:
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long, long time,” she continues. “Years and years and years. And now I have the chance.”
This visitor is clearly in disguise, but knows about the new house, and about Kayla’s daughter. Should Kayla still move in? Would this stranger turn up again? Was the land belonging to the house, with it’s mysterious lake, too unsafe for a young child? And what secrets were lurking there in the woods?
At the end of Kayla’s street is another, much older house, which is at the centre of the second part of this story set in 1965. Ellie Hockley takes us back over fifty years to the state’s darker past, when she was a social activist involved in racial injustice and forbidden love. I really warmed to teenage Ellie, who is so passionate in standing up for what she feels is right, at whatever cost.
I particularly enjoyed the older storyline, which told a poignant tale and of an interesting history that I had no idea about, but the more modern storyline also had its emotive elements with plenty of plot in its own right. ‘The Last House on the Street’ is a novel of shocking prejudice and violence, forbidden love, and the search for justice. Some readers may find later scenes rather disturbing, but this book drives forward a powerful message and it’s a story that needs to be told.
Thank you to NetGalley, Headline and Diane Chamberlain for this ARC of ‘The Last House on the Street’ in exchange for my honest review.