Laurel Lefkow reads the stunning new novel from the bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring
When modest Quaker Honor Bright sails from Bristol with her sister, she is fleeing heartache for a new life in America, far from home. But tragedy leaves her alone and vulnerable, torn between two worlds and dependent on the kindness of strangers. Life in 1850s Ohio is precarious and unsentimental. The sun is too hot, the thunderstorms too violent, the snow too deep. The roads are spattered with mud and spit. The woods are home to skunks and porcupines and raccoons. They also shelter slaves escaping north to freedom.
Should Honor hide runaways from the ruthless men who hunt them down? The Quaker community she has joined may oppose slavery in principle, but does it have the courage to help her defy the law? Set in the tangled forests and sunlit cornfields of Ohio, Tracy Chevalier's vivid novel is the story of bad men and spirited women, surprising marriages and unlikely friendships, and the remarkable power of defiance.
©2013 Tracy Chevalier (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Sorry Laurel, but you can't do a Brizzol Aaaacent! I wish you'd not tried - I appreciate you're trying to differentiate the characters, but the effect was (to my ear - English native) anoying every time you tried to adopt the colloquial.
Aside from that, a good yarn - some interesting insight into a fascinating slice of history. Well researched, well written, enough going on to keep my interest.
"Quilting in the 1850's"
I love Tracy Chevalier books and have read several. I like the way she tells the story and makes it interesting. I really enjoyed this and the way the story moved forward and to learn and feel part of the hard life early American settlers had. The life of the Quakers was not a particularly easy one and also the choices available to single women was not easy. I enjoyed reading about the Quilting and the various patterns. The story dragged on a bit towards the end but I did enjoy it and I would recommend it.
This is definitely not my usual kind of listen but I listened to it for my book group and I am so glad I did! This is a very gentle, easy listen and Laurel Lefkow narrates it beautifully. There are excellent, illuminating descriptions of life in 1850s America and Chevalier really brings to life the world of the Quakers and the process of quilting without going ino too much detail. I was a little disappointed at the lack of detail given about slavery and the lives of the slaves but this did not detract from my enjoyment. I did feel that the middle of the novel was the weakest part - the plot didn't really move along and felt rather stuck. However, this is a fairly short book that works well on audio and although it may be lacking in plot the outstanding writing and narration make it an excellent listen.
"A Must for Quilters!"
I probably will listen again, as it's just the sort of story to listen to while sewing or gardening. There was lots of information about the Quakers, which interests me, and also a huge amount of detail about making quilts. Did women really quilt double handed?
A recent book I have read was The Help - about the negro women working in white households in the southern states of the USA at the time of Martin Luther King. This book has stayed with me over the months, so it was good to find so much in the Last Runaway about the days of black struggle during slavery - particularly to find that the Quakers were practical supporters of freedom.
Her accent was irritating at times, particularly when she tried to speak Dorset and it came out Yorkshire. Several mispronounciations of words also grated.
Goodness, no! Far too long. However it divided up neatly into chapters, and I read it over about 4 days.
Characterisation was good on the whole: Belle was particularly good, although Honour's husband very light-weight. The device of using letters as commentary was particularly effective, as in letters to Bessie.
Honour, Honour is a Quaker, a very kind, gentle girl who leaves her family and friends in England for a new life in America. Things do not go as they should, however this brings out her strength of character and determination. All done without raising her voice.
There are many, but forced to choose it would be when her husband's family are faced with the concequences of their actions ( or in the case I actions)
When Dorcas tells Honour what happened to her father.
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and all the characters are well rounded. I found myself really disliking the mother in law. Wanting to give Jack a shake and tell him to stand up for his wife. I particularly liked the way the runaways are portrayed. Although not much is known about them, there is enough that you still feel their pain,be they hiding in the hay, or in the cubbyhole with splinters digging into their back. I found myself willing the little girl not to cough. Really became involved in their desire to escape and wishing them well.
"making your way through life"
this book was great to listen to, it just flowed all the way through, you really felt for the characters and wanted to know what was going to happen next. an interesting, easy listen. a girl trying to find her way in the world, just like the rest of us . . . .
I love Tracy Chevaliers book and this did not disappoint . As usual you get a great feeling of time and place as Chevalier evokes atmosphere so well.
It gives an interesting view in to the Quaker life style ,quilting ,slavery and life in a new world !
I enjoyed the book as a holiday read but found the story moving and the characters credible and as usual got a great feel for the period and the way of life
"Thoughtful, inspiring & utterly compelling listen"
This is the journey of the very quiet Honour Bright - who leaves the closely knit Quaker community in Dorset when her fiance meets another and releases her of her obligation - to travel with her outgoing, noisy sister Grace to America, where Grace is to marry an old family friend. This story is not just about the physical travels of Honour into a completely different landscape but also the growth of Honour's own character. Slavery and the Quaker's attitude to this at the heart of this story - but it is impossible to say any more without giving away the plot.
Tracey Chevalier is one of my favourite authors and yet again I can say this tale is not "more of the same" but something completely different. I have now recommended this to everyone I know and can only hope the book reads as well as it is narrated by Laurel Lefkow who does a truly wonderful job.
"It was hard to be a quaker during slavery"
As well written as you would expect from Tracy Chevalier with plenty of tension and worry about how the heroine will end up.
"America, Land of Opportunity and Slavery"
When Dorsetshire Quaker Honor Bright is jilted, she emigrates to America along with her sister Mary, who is intending to marry an established emigré from the same community now running a drapery in a small town in Ohio. But Mary dies of Yellow Fever on the journey and Honor finds herself a stranger in a strange land, entirely dependent upon the charity of her dead sister's fiancé.
A hasty marriage to local farmer Jack Haymaker seems to be the answer but Jack is part of an intimidating family, at the head of which stands his formidable mother Judith who is less than impressed with her son's choice of partner.
The gap between Honor and the Haymakers begins to widen when she becomes involved with the underground rail road of people smuggling slaves to freedom in Canada. Eventually a crisis is reached and both Honor and Jack are forced to make difficult choices.
Tracey Chevalier is an immensely visual writer, able to bring a scene to life with a few well-chosen details - the gleam of light on a bowl, the curve of a lock of hair, the colour of a ribbon - and this is a book that draws its strength from the intensely realised minutiae of domestic life.
It is marred a little by a tendency towards simplification and sentimentality in the latter third of the book, particularly in the depiction of the black characters, and the dénoument feels a little too neat. Nevertheless, I found this beautifully-read story to be both entertaining and moving.
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