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The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

The Last Runaway (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Tracy Chevalier

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8046511,352 (3.83)50
Title:The Last Runaway
Authors:Tracy Chevalier
Info:Dutton Adult (2013), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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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Tracy Chevalier is an excellent story teller and this tale of Honor Bright, a Quaker who sets off from Bridport to the New World, doesn't disappoint. ( )
  sianpr | Mar 29, 2015 |
Being a Quaker myself I was anticipating a historical novel that would include something about the Quaker traditions and customs that guided Honor. I was disappointed because it seems the author thinks that the main thing Quakers do is be quiet in worship and help slaves. The story is enjoyable as a novel, but don't expect to learn much about Quakers. ( )
  CFMLibrary | Jan 14, 2015 |
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! ( )
  elizabeth.b.bevins | Nov 4, 2014 |
Tale of English girl Honor, raised as Quaker, who find herself trying to carry on her beliefs in America. Describes her interrelationships with some of the people involved with the underground railroad. Not as good as some of the other books by this author. ( )
  Pmaurer | Oct 30, 2014 |
This book was chosen by my Library Book Club for September 2014. I had previously read and enjoyed Chavalier’s Girl With a Pearl Earring but nothing else so I was glad to expand my knowledge of her repertoire.
Honor Bright (wouldn’t a girl born in England have her name spelled Honour?) is a Quaker from Bridport England. When her fiancé broke off their engagement so he could marry someone else Honor decided to emigrate to the US with her sister Grace. Grace was going to marry Adam Cox, another Quaker from Bridport, who had joined his brother in Ohio to run a dry goods shop in Oberlin. Honor found the sea crossing almost unendurable although the ship’s captain said it was the smoothest sailing he had ever had. Honor knew that she would never be able to return to England because she wouldn’t survive another ocean voyage. Thus her fate was sealed in America and even when Grace died of yellow fever before reaching her fiancé Honor had to continue on. She relies on strangers to continue her journey which brings her into contact with the Underground Railway. As a Quaker Honor is opposed to slavery so she supports their work. She learns that American Quakers have somewhat tempered their opposition to slavery because it is believed that emancipation would ruin the economy.
Honor runs into even more opposition to her aid to runaways when she marries Jack Haymaker. Jack lives with his mother and sister and runs a dairy farm. They had left Kentucky to come to Ohio because of Kentucky’s support of slavery ten years previously. But they are worried they would lose their farm if they supported runaways and so Honor is forbidden to help them. This causes tension between Honor and her husband.
Among the interesting characters that Honor meets are Belle Mills and her half-brother Donovan. Belle is a milliner and a member of the Underground Railway. Donovan hunts runaway slaves. I especially liked Belle who seems highly practical but then makes her living by providing frivolous things like new hats and bonnets.
Quilting is the backbone of this book. Honor is a superb needlewoman and she loves piecing quilts. When she marries her future mother-in-law requires that she provide a dozen quilts. Honor only brought one quilt with her so she borrows 3 quilts that her sister-in-law had made. These quilts are appliqué, not pieced, which Honor doesn’t like as well. She must replace these quilts as soon as possible so that occupies her during the harsh winter. It seems that women never are at leisure; even sitting after supper they have some needlework in their hands.
I thought this book was well-written and I would read more of Tracy Chevalier’s books. ( )
  gypsysmom | Sep 3, 2014 |
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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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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)

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Average: (3.83)
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