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
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.
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.
Yes, I would.
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.
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.
The audio version is preferable to me only when I am unable to sit down and hold a book.
The information I gleaned about the Underground Railway as it pertained to the Early American Quakers & their counterparts in England
Honor's mother-in-law. She did not represent the supposedly non-judgemental, Christ like Quakers of that time.
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.
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.
Some what computer like
The long scene about quilting
I love books, but I particularly love audio books. What a luxury to have someone like Campbell Scott read you to sleep.
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
Waiting for Chevalier to make the 'quilt code' part of the story.
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.
Probably not, unless screenwriters super charged it.
If you enjoy endless descriptions of quilts and detailed descriptions of everything, you might like this book.
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.
She seemed to use the same inflection on nearly every sentence, rising unnaturally at the end. It became annoying after awhile.
I don't think I would cut any scenes, necessarily, but I would eliminate some of the redundant descriptions.
A different narrator.
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.
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.
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