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The Last Runaway

Chevalier, Tracy

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Last Runaway
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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.
Publisher: New York : Dutton, c2013.
ISBN: 0525952993
9780525952992
Characteristics: 305 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm.

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From Library Staff

October 2013


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Jul 14, 2014
  • samdog123 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I always enjoy Tracy Chevalier's historical novels. In this title, a Quaker woman, Honor Bright, comes to Colonial American where she becomes involved with the Underground Railroad.

Jul 05, 2014
  • szarnstorff rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An interesting side to the runaway slave issue from the quaker point of view. A woman who came to America with her sister is left to find a place of her own when her sister dies. She lives with her former brother-in law and then marries a neighbor.

Jun 06, 2014
  • DorisWaggoner rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Honor begins her trip to America with her sister thinking she can return to England if things don't go well, but her terrible seasickness makes her realize she must find a way to live in her new home. This is harder when disaster strikes her beloved sister, and she finds her brother-in-law isn't expecting her. Her only friend in this strange land is a milliner who kindly takes her in, makes use of her sewing skills, and protects her. Honor begins by expecting America to conform to her English ideas, but learns no one is interested in them. The OH frontier of 1850 is much too raw and dangerous for that, especially as she finds herself involved in the slavery issue. This separates even Quaker families, as she learns to her dismay. Honor can speak her true mind only in letters to her best friend in England, which will take months to reach her. Ultimately, she begins to grow into a sense of herself, with her own values for a new land. A quiet book, with more action in retrospect than the spare prose makes you think in the reading. As with other of Chevalier's books, I'd like another telling what happens next.

May 14, 2014
  • maritbryn rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

great historical fiction, telling a compelling story of people following their faith while trying to live by the 'rules' of the land.

Feb 05, 2014
  • quilteriam rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The author is a brilliant researcher and brings that to light with Honor Bright. I enjoyed the historical content, the constant spiritual questioning, and the wonderful quilting references. I am a quilter and justice was done with the descriptions and accuracy. I loved every word and would read it again.

The relationships with Honor's husband, sister, family in England and new people in Ohio was what I expected. She was in new surroundings with only her English upbringing to compare. She didn't give up but rather found a way to survive. Nothing new here but she used her nimble fingers to help her make a living. Plus, she had compassion for her fellow man, looking past the skin color. She made a difference in the lives of several people. Something we should all hope to do in our lifetime. Loved the book!

Nov 12, 2013
  • falconroom rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Brilliant read as are all I have slowly savored of her novels since I discovered the Girl with the Pearl Earring (with my love for the mysterious Dutch painter Vermeer). As my mother is a quilter, I loved the 'quilt talk' ; i'd never heard of someone able to quilt on both sides at once!

I think we get to know Honor best through her letters; getting through all of the Quaker thee's & thy's was a bit trying; I kept waiting for a truly American "you" or "your" to escape! And I must say her "mother-in-law" was difficult to the point of unreason!

Reading the author's acknowledgements is always telling; t Chevalier shares all her research and lovingly credits the people who discovered priceless research tools; a tribute to an author's depth, credibility & honesty!

i have just started "Burning Bright" which she could have named this but Honor was herself, in essence, the "last runaway".

Sep 28, 2013
  • mrsgail5756 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

Jun 29, 2013
  • GLNovak rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Another spare story from Chevalier. She entwines a lot in her books, and also leaves a lot to the reader to puzzle out. Honor, true to her name, is trying to meld her lifelong beliefs as a Quaker with the realities of her new life in Ohio where slavery is still very much an issue. How can she hold true to her principles, and at the same time become a part of her new family. Although a lot happens during the year we get to know Honor, most of it is mentioned as a bit of background colour and not a main event. Still we can follow along with Honor's confusion through to her coming to understanding and moving on with life on her terms.

Jun 28, 2013
  • beachcat2 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I did not want this book to end. The different threads of the Underground Railway, Quakers, quilting and millinery, and immigration from England are all brought together into an absorbing tale set in Ohio in 1850. i love Tracy Chevalier's writing.

Although not as good as her other titles, I thought this was a good read. More depth into Honor Bright's motivation for many of the things she did would have been helpful. Interesting to see Quaker values, lifestyle, and moral challenges in regard to the Underground Railroad and American way of life which was so different from that of England.

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