In this haunting story, time moves backwards to Ellie Hockley’s life in 1965. Ellie lives in North Carolina in the deep south. She is a pharmaceutical student in college, preparing to step in at her father’s pharmacy when her studies are completed. Ellie’s life seems complete. She’s dating a local, will have a good job after she graduates, and her best friend Brenda is getting married. But, after going to a meeting about helping to register black people to vote during the upcoming summer, her life changes forever.
Against her parents, brother and friends wishes, Ellie makes the decision to go fight for black voters and their families. With volunteers coming from all different states, her being a southern girl makes her decision looked upon by other southerners as her being a traitor. Where Ellie is from, there are few black people and there are KKK meetings. Unfortunately, this puts the black families in which Ellie stays with in great jeopardy.
When a group of the volunteers decide to drive to Ellie’s small town, Round Hill to attend a KKK meeting, Ellie is shocked at what is being said and who is in attendance. When Ellie is seen at the meeting, she becomes fodder for the town. As do her parents and brother whose livelihood becomes impacted by her decisions. In the meantime, Ellie finds herself falling for someone she knows she will be unable to be with.
Flash forward to the year 2010 and Kayla Carter, an architect who along with her husband have been building an incredible house in Round Hill. Unfortunately, Kayla’s young husband dies in an accident while the house is being built and she is left a widow with a young daughter. Still uncomfortable about moving into the now finished house without her husband, Kayla is visited by a strange woman who seems to know too much about her and her family. She warns Kayla that someone could be killed if she moves into the house with her child. Although the police think this is just a random crazy person, she is taking the threats seriously. With a lake, woods and a dilapidated tree house on the land and finding out KKK meetings used to be held back there, she is taking no chances and decides a fence needs to be installed. Kayla’s dreamhouse is becoming a nightmare.
Then strange occurrences begin to happen on her property. If it wasn’t for her neighbor next door, Ellie Hockley, who has come back to Round Hill to take care of her ailing mother and dying brother, she does not know what she would do. But Ellie basically keeps to herself and is not opened to talking about the past.
As the two stories which are told in separate chapters, begin to collide Ellie and Kayla discover their lives are deeply intertwined. Decades old shocking secrets will be revealed which will change their lives forever.
Once again Diane Chamberlain has written a powerful thought-provoking story about hate, love and suppression as she has become well-known to be the master. Thank you #NetGalley #St. Martin’s Press #DianeChamberlain #TheLastHouseontheStreet for the advanced copy.