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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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991818,651 (3.82)61
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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Audiobook performed by Kate Reading
2.5**

In 1850, Honor Bright accompanies her sister to America. Grace is betrothed to a Quaker merchant who has set up shop with his brother in Ohio. Honor is fleeing a failed romance, hoping for a new start. But the “frontier” of Ohio is very different from the long-established English community Honor left, and she feels adrift and unwelcomed, though she has little choice but to rely on these virtual strangers to help her.

I’ve been a fan of Chevalier’s for a long time. I like the way she puts the reader into the time and place of her historical novels, and this is no exception. I felt I was discovering the joys of sweet corn, the marvel of lightning bugs, and the trill of song birds right along with Honor. I was interested in the realities of life in such communities at this time in America’s history, and liked the references to the Underground Railroad and the subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways in which “Friends” helped the runaways.

But I didn’t really believe in Honor. She seemed way too naïve and trusting, and the whole “on and off” attraction to “bad boy” Donovan seemed way out of character for her. And then there’s the ending … it seemed to me that Chevalier got herself into a corner and didn’t know how to get out, so she used the most convenient way to end things. It was so dissatisfying, to me, that I dropped half a star.

Kate Reading does a fine job performing the audio version, although she never succeeded in giving Honor (or any of the other new arrivals from England) a British accent (something which is commented upon several times). ( )
  BookConcierge | Jul 8, 2016 |
Gave up at p. 70. I've loved other works by Chevalier, but this just wasn't working for me. I wasn't learning any history, and I wasn't feeling empathy for any of the characters.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
This is a great story! The characters are easy to connect with, and the scene is so well described that you are there with them right from the start. The ending was better than I anticipated. Highly recommended! ( )
  Darth-Heather | May 31, 2016 |
The Last Runaway– Tracey Chevalier
4 stars

Young, Quaker, Honor Bright, is an unlikely immigrant. Her sister, Grace, was the adventurous one. But, within days of their arrival, Grace is dead of yellow fever. Honor is awkwardly forced into a dependent position with her sister’s former fiancé. She is thrust into a strange new American life and the realities of the slave trade in the divided United States. As she struggles with the limits of her situation, she also grapples with her conscience and tries desperately to maintain her spiritual center.

For the most part I enjoyed this book and its picture of the Quaker community in 19th century Ohio. I liked Honor’s interactions with the non-Quaker characters who formed part of the Underground Railroad. In most histories, Quakers are depicted as heroes of the abolitionist movement. It was interesting to see Quaker characters portrayed as individuals motivated by self-interest rather than conscience. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the different quilting and hat making techniques that form the background of so much of the story’s action.

The story fell flat for me when it came to Honor’s love life. Although, I could believe that the religious community could easily back her into a marriage of convenience, I did not find the sexual content of the ‘courtship’ to be likely. I was also unconvinced by her relationship to the villain of the story. The book’s ending allowed Honor to maintain her dignity and her values, but I felt it was a bit too neatly tied up with a bow. ( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Stigla je iz Engleske u Ameriku,ostala sama da se snalazi,jedino sto je imala je dar za sivanjem prelijepih prekrivaca,sila je kape za americke dame,krila odbjegle robove i bila tajno zaljubljena u lovca na njih...voljela je slatki kukuruz i sirup od javora,hoce li ikada postati jedna od njih ili ce uvjek biti dosljakinja...Trejsine knjige me opcaravaju,uvijek :) ( )
  ceca78 | Apr 10, 2016 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:09 -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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