Customer Reviews for

The Last Runaway: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 73 )
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5 Star

(42)

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(19)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

32 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

A fascinating novel about Quakers and America's Underground Railroad

Honor Bright is a young Quaker woman who reluctantly leaves England to accompany her betrothed sister to American for the wedding. The crossing is far from easy and Honor suffers seasickness the entire month. When the sisters arrive in America, matters take a shocking t...
Honor Bright is a young Quaker woman who reluctantly leaves England to accompany her betrothed sister to American for the wedding. The crossing is far from easy and Honor suffers seasickness the entire month. When the sisters arrive in America, matters take a shocking turn when Honor’s sister falls ill with yellow fever and dies. As scheduled, Honor arrives in Ohio at her sister’s betrothed’s home and finds herself alone with no choice but to live with the family until she can resolve her future.

Before long, Honor meets and marries a farmer named Jack Haymaker. Unaccustomed to the harsh duties of farming life and her role in milking the family’s dairy cows under the disapproving eye of her mother-in-law, Honor is far from happy. But her Quaker background gives her the strength to carry on dutifully and with little complaint. Her life becomes even more filled with adversity when she discovers they live in the active path of the Underground Railroad, and she begins to aid those who have escaped slavery for the freedom of Canada.

As the story unfolds, readers feast on detailed descriptions about landscapes, materials, tools, transportation, and clothing. Honor faces personal dilemma’s of faith and morality, of doing what is right vs what is expected, of love and duty. The Last Runaway delves deeply with intense detail into the Underground Railroad and the dangers faced by not only the slaves, but those who aided the slaves to freedom. Believable characters like slave hunting Donovan and his sister Belle who secretly works against her brother and helps slaves, made for a fascinating story.

The book starts slowly because of quilting details and many descriptions, but it is necessary and engaging as it is of historical importance and adds to the story when it begins to really take root. The novel focuses on the role and risks Quakers took to help slaves during this tumultuous period in history. Tracy Chevalier writes with great depth and insight, creating compelling, three dimensional characters that remain in your thoughts long after the book is finished. Definitely most highly recommended as a novel of historical depth and importance.

posted by Mirella on January 8, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A gem

It was good to read someone telling a story about that time in history. A very thought-provoking book.

posted by 2915993 on March 21, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    New Chevalier Worth the Wait

    In "The Last Runaway," Tracy Chevalier covers new ground and introduces her readers to Quakers in pre Civil War Ohio. Seen through the eyes of a young Englishwoman, Ohio is a wild frontier very different from her comfortable life and home in England, and she does not fully understand the subterfuges and compromises that people must make -- both to stay true to their faith and to survive the complexity of the myriad laws regarding runaway slaves. Chevalier shows the discomfort and compromises that people felt they had to make with regards to slavery, abolition and the myriad laws regarding runaway slaves in order to preserve their homes and lives, and helps the reader understand that the choices people were forced to make weren't black and white.

    Chevalier also shows the difficulty that recent immigrants had in adjusting to their new lives, and the significant cultural changes that occurred between England and America in just a few short decades.

    I highly recommend "The Last Runaway," and am disappointed in only the new wait I now face until her next book comes out.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    recommend

    A good, fast read. Entertaining.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    Highly recommend

    I really enjoyed this read. I have always enjoyed reading about the American slaves quest to be free and enjoyed seeing it through a Quaker's perspective.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    Worth Reading

    I felt that this book was worth reading. For some reason when I finished I felt just a tiny bit disappointed because I wanted to like Honor more than I really did. Don't get me wrong I admired her spirit and how she stuck to her beliefs but there just wasn't enough character development to make me really feel attached to her. It was a great story and I would recommend it to anyone. I would really like to know "what happens next" especially if Tracy could give Honor a little more depth.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2013

    This is the kind of book you sort of live in while you are reading it.

    This is a story about a girl and her sister who left England because the sister was going to marry here. Her sister died during the trip across and the young girl (Honor) was left alone to more or less fend for herself. Her moral Quaker beliefs, her beautiful quilt-making, her gradual realization she had to help even in a small way the slaves who were running away from their hard lives is the basis of the story. Tracy Chevalier does not seem able to write anything but good books in my opinion. I enjoyed the book a lot. A quick read - good story - well-written. What else could one want?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2013

    Good reading

    This was not my favorite of hers but still a good read. The book moves along and is historically well written.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Recommend

    It was a good book. 3 1/2 star maybe 4 star

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2013

    Great Read

    The author places subtle clues placed along the way to keep the reader enticed to read into the next chapter. It was interesting to watch the character mature and find her voice by the end of the book. Would read another book by this author.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2013

    Great historical novel

    Being a history buff, especially involving the Civil War era, I appreciated reading more about the implications resulting from runaway slaves, a subject I am always drawn to read more about. So much of the remainder of the book centers on "girl meets boy" saga, and the ups and downs of their lives as the story unfolds, which is predictable, and a bit boring. However, the riding off into the sunset ending did put a nice twist into the story. Ms. Chevalier is an author I am familiar with, and look forward to reading any books that I see she has written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    Tracy Chevalier is true to form in her newest book The Last Runaway. Tracy reveals her talent for using the historical time frame to spin a gripping story and perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest in her long list of excellent books. I give it 4 1/2 stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 27, 2013

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