ABOUT THE BOOK
A small town divided by prejudice. A secret that won’t remain silent…
1965. 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, a Black man, in a time and place where an interracial relationship must be hidden from family, friends and especially the reemerging Ku Klux Klan. As tensions rise in the town, she realises not everyone is who they appear to be.
2020. A recently widowed architect moves into the home she and her late husband designed, heartbroken that he will never cross the threshold. But 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?
Decades later, past and present are set to collide in the last house on the street…
What should have been an exciting and happy time for the Carter family, moving into the house they had designed, turns into tragedy when Kayla’s husband has an accident while putting in the final touches to their dream home and dies. Kayla is now left to raise their four-year-old daughter Rainie. The house is the last one on the street and has huge windows on one side of it, facing the forest. The house is far the biggest and best but, when a strange woman goes to see Kayla, just before they are planning to move into the house, she puts the fear of God in her. The woman tells Kayla not to move in or face the consequences. The house takes on a more sinister feel for Kayla, as little things start happening that let her know that she is not welcome there.
The story drops back to 1965, and a time when changes are made in America that not everyone welcomed. President Lyndon Johnson is on the verge of signing the Voting Rights Act for black people to have the right to vote. An organisation is set up with volunteers that go into the community and encourage the black American people to vote. The organisation know that this is a massive task that will have opposition from many white people and members of the KKK (Ku Klux Klan). Scope (Summer Community Organization and Political Education project) is tasked with signing up college students to help with this.
Ellie is a middle class, white girl with a comfortable life, a steady boyfriend and a best friend who had just found out she was having a baby. The wealthy young man responsible was doing the right thing and marrying her. Ellie had her life planned out and was quite an independent young woman. I liked Ellie, but she didn’t have a clue what was going on in the real world around her.
Ellie lived in Round Hill, North Carolina, where the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) were at times still active. She didn’t want to work in her father’s shoe shop through summer, she wanted to do something meaningful. So against their wishes, Ellie volunteered. As part of the programme, she had to live with black American families. She had no idea how scary it was for the families day to day. When Ellie meets Win, they enter a dangerous world that they can not step back from. It is a compelling story that covers just about every moral issue that you can think of.
I find it hard to think that I was a young girl when life was like this and people accepted it! It is a slow burn read that bubbles under the surface in both timelines. The characters are unforgettable in both eras. Diane Chamberlain matures them perfectly when the story jumps forty-five years into the future. The past has had its toll on some of them and with reason. There is unfinished business in Round Hill. Bitterness, secrets and accountability. A superb book!
I wish to thank the publisher and Net Galley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Diane Chamberlain is the USA Today and London Times bestselling author of 24 novels published in more than twenty languages. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of her books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, her stories usually feature a combination of drama, mystery, secrets and intrigue. Diane’s background in psychology has given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create her realistic characters.
Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and spent her summers at the Jersey Shore. She also lived for many years in San Diego and northern Virginia before making North Carolina her home.
Diane received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, Diane worked in hospitals in San Diego and Washington, D.C. before opening a private psychotherapy practice in Alexandria Virginia specializing in adolescents. All the while Diane was writing on the side. Her first book, Private Relations was published in 1989 and it earned the RITA award for Best Single Title Contemporary Novel.
Diane lives with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her shelties, Keeper and Cole. She has three stepdaughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. She’s currently at work on her next novel.