Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Last Runaway

The Last Runaway
by Tracy Chevalier

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:  Honor Bright is a modest English Quaker with a broken heart. Emigrating to Ohio with her sister in the hope of making a new life, she soon discovers that 19th-century America hard, precarious place to live. Its people are practical and unsentimental, its climate challenging. Even its quilts are different from those she makes. Moreover, it is divided by slavery, legal in southern states and opposed by many northerners.

One day a runaway slave appears in the farmyard of Honor’s new family, and she must decide what to do. Even Quakers - famed for championing human equality - may hesitate to break the laws of the land. Drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network of people helping runaways escape to freedom, Honor befriends two surprising women who demonstrate what defiance can achieve. Eventually she must decide if she too can act on what she believes in, whatever the personal costs.
Review: I very much enjoyed this book.  The main character, Honor Bright, is a mixed up young Quaker who feels compelled to help runaway slaves even though her family does not condone the activity.  Honor has to do some soul searching and figure out who she is and what is willing to give up to help others.  The story portrays the simple life of the Quakers in the mid 1800s and the life in early settlements in Ohio. Some of the story is written in the form of letters written by Honor to her family and friend back in England.  These letters capture her feelings even better than the prose of the novel.  We really get to know Honor and her inner workings.  I did not like a few of the characters but I don't think the reader was supposed to like them. I gave this book 4 stars as opposed to 5 because there were parts of the story that seemed superfluous and there was a lack of action in parts of the book.  While it wasn't a slow read, there were parts that were slow.  Overall, this was a very pleasurable read and a story that I haven't read before.
Rating: 4 stars

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