The last runaway

Tracy Chevalier

Book - 2013

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.

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FICTION/Chevalier, Tracy
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Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Published
New York : Dutton c2013.
Language
English
Physical Description
305 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780142180365
9780525952992
0525952993
Main Author
Tracy Chevalier (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Honor Bright sailed from England to America in 1850 with her sister, Grace, who is betrothed to a fellow Quaker in Ohio. After Grace's death, Honor is left in the awkward position of an outsider, searching for her place in an unsettled land of restless change where even the Quakers are different from those she had known at home. She finds solace in writing letters to friends and family in England and in the exquisite quilting skills that tie her to her old life and offer some hope of ties to a new one. Honor's only true American friend is Belle, the unorthodox milliner who clandestinely aids runaway slaves, even as her rough and charismatic brother, Donovan, hunts them down. Horrified by the realities of slavery, Honor faces the new complexities of the Fugitive Slave Law and the challenges it poses for the Quakers and for her personally. Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring, 2000) offers a cast of strong characters wrestling with thorny personalities, the harsh realities of the frontier, and the legal and moral complexities of American slavery. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

English Quaker Honor Bright wants nothing more than to lead a simple and righteous life, but when her engagement to her childhood sweetheart is broken, Honor sails for America and the great unknown of the Ohio frontier. Though she begins her journey with optimism, it quickly fades when tragedy strikes, and Honor finds herself alone and afraid in her new home, depending, for the first time, on the kindness of strangers. Swept up in America's antislavery movement, forced to choose between loyalties to those she loves and the greater good, Honor discovers that the world is not as simple as she once believed. VERDICT Chevalier's (The Girl with the Pearl Earring; Remarkable Creatures) writing continues to have that can't-put-it-down quality, and her change in settings from Europe to 19th-century frontier America is a welcome one. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 7/9/12.]—Leigh Wright, Bridgewater, NJ [Page 79]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

For the first time ever, the American-born, London-based Chevalier is using America as a backdrop. Leaving home after suffering a disappointment, English Quaker Honor Bright ends up in 1850 Ohio, where she finds folks—even Quakers—pragmatically unprincipled and becomes involved in the Underground Railroad. [Page 54]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Chevalier's (Girl with a Pearl Earring) haunting seventh novel delves into the difference between a theory of belief and its practice. When young Quaker Honor Bright's fiancé breaks off the relationship to marry outside the faith, Honor goes to America in 1850 with her sister, Grace. Grace is engaged to marry Adam Cox, a young man from their hometown who followed his brother to Faithwell, Ohio. Unfortunately, Grace dies en route, and Honor arrives in Ohio to find Adam sharing a house with Abigail, his sister-in-law, made a widow by the death of Adam's brother. Honor moves into the house, but feels tense and unwelcome. In Belle Mills, a milliner who appreciates Honor's sewing skills, Honor finds a friend and ally. Honor also draws the attention of Belle's brother, Donovan, a slave hunter, and Jack Haymaker, a local farmer, a man "like a pulled muscle that Honor sensed every time she moved." They marry and Honor, drawn by her sympathies into helping the Underground Railroad, is forced to choose between living her beliefs and merely speaking them. The birth of her own child raises the stakes, and she takes a unique stand in her untenable situation. Honor's aching loneliness, overwhelming kindness, and stubborn convictions are beautifully rendered, as are the complexities of all the supporting characters and the vastness of the harsh landscape. Honor's quiet determination provides a stark contrast to the roiling emotions of the slave issue, the abolitionist fight, and the often personal consequences. Chevalier's thought-provoking, lyrical novel doesn't allow any of her characters an easy way out. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Forced to leave England and struggling with illness, 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.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

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. By the best-selling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring. Reprint. 150,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

New York Times bestselling author of Girl With a Pearl Earring and At the Edge of the Orchard 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. Honor Bright, a modest English Quaker, 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, Honor is drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, where she 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.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A powerful journey brimming with color and drama, The Last Runaway isNew York Times bestselling author Tracy Chevalier’s vivid exploration of an iconic chapter in American history.Ohio 1850. For a modest English Quaker stranded far from home, life is a trial. Untethered from the moment she leaves England, fleeing personal disappointment, Honor Bright is forced by family tragedy to rely on strangers in an alien, untamed landscape. Drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, Honor befriends two exceptional people who embody the startling power of defiance. Eventually she must decide if she too can act on what she believes in, whatever the personal cost. Like Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings, Chevalier's novel is a sweeping and important novel about the power of bravery, friendship, and perseverance.