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The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
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The Last Runaway (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Tracy Chevalier

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7055813,430 (3.83)46
Member:jo2son
Title:The Last Runaway
Authors:Tracy Chevalier
Info:Dutton Adult (2013), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:read in 2012, Ohio, historical fiction, quilting, immigration, 1850, Quaker, Underground Railroad, Goodreads giveaway

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The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier (2013)

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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
The story weaves a captivating saga of the Underground Railroad and draws us into its clandestine activities. The tale centers on Honor Bright, an English Quaker who immigrates to Ohio in 1850. Strange enough, this page turner that includes millinery, quilting and the Quaker life is a powerful and thought provoking journey that brims with color and drama. For some it may take a while to get into but it is well worth it.

I felt soon transported into the past with remarkable realism, into the rugged and lack- lustre world of Ohio and into the delicate realities of a woman’s life at that time. While trying to set roots with the Quakers, Honor’s new home is directly in the path of the Underground Railroad. At the time, Laws in America still upheld slavery. For Honor slavery was wrong and despite warnings she never stopped helping runaway slaves onto their next destination. The story is told through the hopeful eyes of Honor as she is challenged daily and how she exhibits bravery, independence and shows a defiant spirit.

The author expertly weaves vivid historical details into this gripping storyline. Her characters are very interesting and will remind you of those characters from the old western shows we loved years ago: beautifully depicted as rough and wholesome. The women are the strong characters in contrast to the men who are a bit low keyed, except for Donovan, the slave hunter, he is quite a mix of hot and cold….(I let you figure that one out). If you love quilting the authors offers plenty of opportunity to learn….this bit is rather repetitive throughout. Mr. Chevalier has added a nice touch and an insight into her protagonist soul through a series of letters she writes to her friends and family. I found this quite touching and emotional. It has been too long since I read an author who shines by turning scenes of ordinary life into exquisite and colourful portraits……Ms. Chevalier is a captivating storyteller.

This was an absorbing, easy and quick read I enjoyed immensely. ( )
  Tigerpaw70 | Jul 22, 2014 |
ok, set in 1850s, honor is a quaker who comes from england to ohio and is somewhat part of underground railroad. not the best period book and not chevailiers best. ( )
  eileenmary | May 16, 2014 |
Chevalier knows how to weave history and story so well. Her main character Honor Bright has such strength and will. And what a name! It certainly suits her. The scenes are so vivid that I lost myself in the story. For fans of Girl with a Pearl Earring you will not be disappointed! ( )
  ElizabethBevins | May 6, 2014 |
I listened to this as an audiobook. In general, I do not like audiobooks as they do not hold my attention, and I seem to constantly rewind. However this one was different. Once it caught me, I could hardly put it down! Kudos to the narrator. She did a wonderful job giving life to the characters and giving them each distinctive vocal patterns.

This is the story of Honor Bright, an English Quaker who accompanies her sister, Grace, to the US for her impending marriage. But before they reach their destination in Faithful, Ohio, Grace succumbs to yellow fever. Unfortunately, Honor is unable to return to England as she was seasick the entire trip across and most likely would not survive a second crossing. Instead, she moves in with her ‘almost’ brother-in-law, Adam, and his sister-in-law, Abigail, who had also recently lost her husband.

I really, really liked the characters in the story; even the ‘bad guy’ slave hunter, Donovan! In fact, even though his occupation really was despicable, and he was unrelenting in his administration of the Fugitive Slave Law, he was one of my favorite characters. I liked the chemistry between Donovan and Honor. Between Honor and Jack, not so much. I also grew fond of the milliner, Belle. She was very down-to-earth, and not afraid to speak her mind.

The author did an excellent job describing Ohio life in the mid-1800s. Her detailed descriptions of quilt patterns and the Belle’s hats, as well as the food prepared and eaten really added to the story. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the differences that Honor encountered in America from what she was used to in England.

The one thing I wasn’t so crazy about was the end. I wish things could have worked out differently, but then, I’d probably be complaining if the end had been different. Honor was in a difficult situation and there was no ‘easy’ answer. I guess I’d have liked to have seen different decisions by Honor earlier in the book. I also would have liked to have seen more interaction between Abigail and Honor later in the book. Abigail was kind of dropped about halfway through the book and Adam was not seen much more.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. I will definitely look for other books by this author, and would probably even be willing to listen to them in audiobook form! This book would be a good selection for book clubs as the discuss Honor’s ethical dilemmas and pre-Civil War events. ( )
  Time2Read2 | Apr 10, 2014 |
I love Tracy Chevalier. When I read her books I get transported into the story,and this book was no exception.It is filled with warmth and local color. Honor Bright is a young British Quaker who travels with her sister to Ohio. She looses her sister to yellow fever and then must try to make her own way. I learned about Quakerism, heroism, farm life, quilting and all through Honor who I learned to love. I was so rooting for her and glad with a satisfactory ending. ( )
  Smits | Mar 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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This book is dedicated to Catoctin Quaker Camp and Oberlin College: two places that shaped and guided my younger self
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She could not go back.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525952993, Hardcover)

New York Times bestselling author of Girl With a Pearl Earring Tracy Chevalier makes her first fictional foray into the American past in The Last Runaway, bringing to life the Underground Railroad and illuminating the principles, passions and realities that fueled this extraordinary freedom movement.

In New York Times bestselling author Tracy Chevalier’s newest historical saga, she introduces Honor Bright, a modest English Quaker who moves to Ohio in 1850, only to find herself alienated and alone in a strange land. Sick from the moment she leaves England, and fleeing personal disappointment, she is forced by family tragedy to rely on strangers in a harsh, unfamiliar landscape.

Nineteenth-century America is practical, precarious, and unsentimental, and scarred by the continuing injustice of slavery. In her new home Honor discovers that principles count for little, even within a religious community meant to be committed to human equality.

However, drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, Honor befriends two surprising women who embody the remarkable power of defiance. Eventually she must decide if she too can act on what she believes in, whatever the personal costs.

A powerful journey brimming with color and drama, The Last Runaway is Tracy Chevalier’s vivid engagement with an iconic part of American history.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:51 -0400)

Forced to leave England and struggling with illness in the wake of a family tragedy, Quaker Honor Bright is forced to rely on strangers in the harsh landscape of 1850 Ohio and is compelled to join the Underground Railroad network to help runaway slaves escape to freedom.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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