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The Last Runaway Audiobook

The Last Runaway

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling 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 best-selling 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.

©2013 Tracy Chevalier (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (278 )
5 star
 (81)
4 star
 (122)
3 star
 (58)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (244 )
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Story
4.0 (244 )
5 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    T. Arcangel Honolulu 04-10-14
    T. Arcangel Honolulu 04-10-14

    I am a Special Education teacher. I grew up in Ashland, Oregon, but have lived most of my life in Hawaii. My favorite reading/listening genres are history and historical fiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointing Surprise"
    Would you try another book from Tracy Chevalier and/or Kate Reading?

    I've read nearly everything by Tracy Chevalier. She is among my favorite authors. I have listened to other books narrated by Kate Reading and I thought she was wonderful.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Tracy Chevalier? Why or why not?

    Yes, I would.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kate Reading?

    I would cast Kate Reading, but I would ask her not to add that questioning uplift at the end of every sentence. It drove me crazy. I don't know why she did it in this book, because it isn't her style.


    Any additional comments?

    I was so excited when I read that Ms. Chevalier was to write a book about a Quaker woman. I am a descendant of Quakers, and Chevalier is one of my favorite authors. I was also very happy to find that Kate Reading would be the narrator, because she did such a fine job of reading Sara Donati's books. "The Last Runaway" fell flat for me, however. What an unpleasant surprise! I didn't like most of the characters and didn't feel involved with the rest. I kept waiting for something interesting or unexpected to happen, but it never did. finished listening to the whole thing, but I was relieved when it was over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynne Florence, CO, United States 03-16-14
    Lynne Florence, CO, United States 03-16-14
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    1
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    "More than entertaining"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Last Runaway to be better than the print version?

    The audio version is preferable to me only when I am unable to sit down and hold a book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The information I gleaned about the Underground Railway as it pertained to the Early American Quakers & their counterparts in England


    Which character – as performed by Kate Reading – was your favorite?

    Honor!


    Who was the most memorable character of The Last Runaway and why?

    Honor's mother-in-law. She did not represent the supposedly non-judgemental, Christ like Quakers of that time.


    Any additional comments?

    I have Quaker Heritage on both sides of my family tree though my childhood paternal side did not know that. I have always appreciated the legacy I felt resulted in my own family's treatment of women in our small, rural community and in Friends churches throughout Mid-America where I grew up.
    As a result, I found the author's research and representation of this time in Early American history quite solid.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenia Ashburn, VA, United States 04-26-13
    Jenia Ashburn, VA, United States 04-26-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Just okay"
    What would have made The Last Runaway better?

    This one is quite boring in my opinion. It's not stirring any kind of emotion in me, it's just something to listen too, and compared to some of the other slave type stories it's just not very good.


    What didn’t you like about Kate Reading’s performance?

    Some what computer like


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Last Runaway?

    The long scene about quilting


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gayle Hallgren-Rezac Vancouver, BC 03-29-13
    Gayle Hallgren-Rezac Vancouver, BC 03-29-13 Member Since 2009

    I love books, but I particularly love audio books. What a luxury to have someone like Campbell Scott read you to sleep.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Waiting for the Quilt Code and it Never Happened"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I usually enjoy Tracy Chevalier's books but I kept waiting for the connection between the quilt making and the use of quilts as a code* used by the Underground Railroad to help slaves find their way to Canada and freedom. Here's a quote from Sarah Ives in a National Geographic article: "Two historians say African American slaves may have used a quilt code to navigate the Underground Railroad. Quilts with patterns named "wagon wheel," "tumbling blocks," and "bear's paw" appear to have contained secret messages that helped direct slaves to freedom, the pair claim." I wonder why this was not part of the story? It would have made for a much more compelling tale, and because this use of quilts and symbols are fairly well known, I would think other readers would have been waiting for the same thing.*Jacqueline Tobin and Raymond Dobard Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad


    What was most disappointing about Tracy Chevalier’s story?

    Waiting for Chevalier to make the 'quilt code' part of the story.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Didn't enjoy the narration all that much and the use of 'thy' and 'thee'. We got it that they were Quakers and this was distracting. Maybe it worked in the book, but not as an audio book.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably not, unless screenwriters super charged it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Bluffton, SC, United States 03-03-13
    Linda Bluffton, SC, United States 03-03-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "disappointing"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you enjoy endless descriptions of quilts and detailed descriptions of everything, you might like this book.


    What could Tracy Chevalier have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The characters were too stereotyped - the nearly perfect, meek and mild Hannah, the bawdy Belle with a heart of gold, the tempting bad boy. I was hoping for more underground railroad adventure, but this was rather dull and plodding. I liked the story well enough, but it seemed to drag, with way too much repetition of how wonderful Hannah was as a seamstress. It made Quakers seem dull and boring.

    It was not clear at all why Hannah would be the least bit attracted to Donovan, so this could have been fleshed out more.


    What didn’t you like about Kate Reading’s performance?

    She seemed to use the same inflection on nearly every sentence, rising unnaturally at the end. It became annoying after awhile.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Last Runaway?

    I don't think I would cut any scenes, necessarily, but I would eliminate some of the redundant descriptions.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kay broken arrow, OK, United States 02-20-13
    Kay broken arrow, OK, United States 02-20-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really did not care for the narrator"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A different narrator.


    What was most disappointing about Tracy Chevalier’s story?

    The main character Honor Bright Haymaker was not as strong as some of her other female characters in her other books. Honor was just a bit too whiney for me to enjoy this book.


    What didn’t you like about Kate Reading’s performance?

    Nothing. Every sentence sounded like it ended in a question. Her accent for Honor was not consistent. I almost didn't finish the book because of her narration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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