The Last Runaway: Book summary and reviews of The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

The Last Runaway

by Tracy Chevalier

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2013
    320 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

New York Times bestselling 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 bestselling 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Chevalier's thought-provoking, lyrical novel doesn't allow any of her characters an easy way out." - Publishers Weekly

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Dorothy T.

The Last Runaway
I am such a fan of Tracy Chevalier, starting with "Girl With a Pearl Earring," and this new novel does not disappoint. As I read I thought I knew who the last runaway would be, but not until the end did it become clear.

Once again Chevalier combines warm, clear writing with a well-researched subject, taking the reader into the time of slavery in the US along with Honor Bright, a young Quaker immigrant striving to overcome challenges to make a place for herself in her new country. The juxtaposition of Honor's Quaker ideals and the sometimes violent circumstances of the times is an inspired idea. As always, Chevalier has created characters I came to like and care about.

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Author Information

Tracy Chevalier Author Biography

Tracy Chevalier was born in Washington, DC but has lived in England all her adult life. She now has dual citizenship. She has a BA in English from Oberlin College, Ohio and an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. She lives in London with her English husband and son. Before turning to writing full-time, she was a reference book editor for several years. She has written 7 novels. Her second novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, sold 4 million copies worldwide, and was made into a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson.

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