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The Last Runaway Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 613 customer reviews

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Length: 353 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Praise for The Last Runaway:

‘I have always admired Tracy Chevalier's un-showy brilliance, and this moving story of a young English Quaker girl trapped between duty and conscience in 1850s Ohio is the best thing she's written since Girl with a Pearl Earring’ Rose Tremain

The Last Runaway is a joy to read. Chevalier handles the intersection of two stories – those of pioneering Quakers and escaping slaves – with verve, imagination and, above all, compassion’ Maggie O’Farrell

‘A brave, warm-hearted, moving book; the characters are well-drawn and credible; the local colour meticulously detailed’ Joanne Harris

‘By far her best book since Girl With A Pearl Earring if not better’ Amanda Craig

‘Chevalier places her heroine at the heart, constructing a synergy between character and plot that makes this novel exquisitely complete… addictively compelling… Honor Bright deserves a sequel’ THE TIMES

‘Her best since Girl With a Pearl Earring… as a serious novel about a genuine moral dilemma, it is highly recommended’ THE INDEPENDENT

‘Chevalier immerses herself in period and place. Her research, as always, is meticulous and lightly worn… an entertaining read’ GUARDIAN

‘Tracy Chevalier has woven a rich tapestry here, setting her protagonist at the crosswords of a time explosive with issues surrounding slavery, rapidly changing industry, America’s pioneering spirit and its racial divide’ INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

‘Chevalier’s eye for the telling detail brings it vividly to life. As simple and plain as a Quaker bonnet, but, like a Quaker soul, it contains a hidden light’ LITERARY REVIEW

‘A gripping and potent novel which shows Chevalier at the height of her powers’ THE EXPRESS

‘Tracy Chevalier has found a subject that both fascinates and moves her and the result is this quietly powerful and gripping novel’ The MAIL

About the Author

Tracy Chevalier is the author of six previous novels, including the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue, Falling Angels, The Lady and the Unicorn, Burning Bright and Remarkable Creatures. Born in Washington, DC, she moved to London in 1984, where she lives with her husband and son. She has a website at www.tchevalier.com.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1375 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: The Borough Press (29 Aug. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 613 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,409 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting story, well paced, well written and not overly challenging or too long. Chevalier's use of a small group of characters playing out the difficulties of managing faith principles in a vast new environment where pragmatism and compromise are also essential for survival, is well balanced. You feel the struggle of the central character in coming to terms with how to manage this new way of living and the tension of all the characters' frustrations without being negatively overwhelmed. A pleasure to pick up at the end of the day for a read before bed. Great for a holiday read too.
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By Lovely Treez TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Tracy Chevalier is one of my favourite authors and she has a way of making history come alive in her novels which have subjects as diverse as Vermeer and fossils. In The Last Runaway she switches her focus to America, in particular 1850s Ohio where the young English Quaker, Honor Bright starts a new life very different to her quiet upbringing in Dorset, England.

It is a time of great upheaval in America as the country inches towards civil war with a variety of runaways, both black slaves and white settlers, trying to forge a better life for themselves. Honor finds life hard as a single woman unaccustomed to the American way but she is aided by the flamboyant Belle Mills, a milliner, who takes Honor under her wing. Belle's brother, Donovan, sets his sights on Honor but his reputation as a dissolute slave hunter makes him an unlikely suitor.

Reminiscent of Gone with the Wind, this is a novel with strong female characters who use their wits to survive difficult times. Those travelling the Underground Railway are not the only runaways in this well-researched and eloquently written novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An easy and absorbing read, but I wasn't really convinced by most of the characters. The author had obviously done a good deal of research into the various strands of the emancipation debate, and I did learn something about the reasons for the opposition to it, and also a little bit about quilting.
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Format: Paperback
THE LAST RUNAWAY by Tracy Chevalier is a slow moving but excellent historical novel that evokes a feeling of time and place. The time is the early 1850's and the place is Ohio. Chevalier tells of Quaker Honor Bright and her experiences as she arrives in the United States with her sister Grace from their home in England. Shortly after their arrival Grace contracts yellow fever and dies leaving Honor in this new and fledgling land without friends or family upon whom she can rely for assistance.

This engrossing read is driven by the evolution of not only a country but of a woman and the choices she must make as she struggles to adjust to life in a new and unfamiliar environment. Readers feel a constant sense of movement as they progress through lives where love, friendship and coping with loss are everyday occurrences and the fight for personal freedom is liberally laced with personal, legal and religious conflict.

Towns spring up overnight, individual lives are transient and homes are built of wood rather than bricks and mortar exuding an overall feeling of impermanence. Contrast between the "old world" that Honor left behind and this new land are examined right down to the differences in the make-up and quality of the patchwork quilts produced by each - - perhaps a metaphor for the disparity in attitudes and lifestyles.

Ms. Chevalier's characters leap from the page to present the reader with a look at a country and a people "all from somewhere else" who are constantly on the move. Perhaps it's a situation we've never really outgrown since we seem to continue to be a people always moving, always exploring and looking ahead for what lies beyond the next horizon.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first Tracy Chevalier book I have read and I'm afraid I didn't like it. It is not a surprise to me to see that other critical reviewers have said this is her worst book; someone as successful must have written something better.
On the positive side, the plot is interesting and has plenty of potential; a Quaker community in 1850 America and its involvement in helping slaves make their way to the safety of Canada by offering food and shelter.
You'd imagine that living in such a frontier time and place would develop multi-dimensional strong characters, but this book is populated by cardboard cut-out goodies and baddies. Additionally, the main character, Honor Bright, a young English woman who finds herself in an unfamiliar country in completely unexpected and unplanned circumstances (she started her journey across America with her sister who died along the way), just didn't ring true for me. For example: she has come to America for a fresh start following the desertion of her intended future husband, and despite having previously had no more physical contact than hand holding and the odd kiss, Honor is soon romping in the hay with someone she has barely known, and is married within a matter of weeks. I'm not saying this couldn't happen, but surely there would have been some internal conflict going on.
The subject of quilting is a constant thread (excuse the pun!) throughout the book, and there are plenty of descriptions of various techniques, designs, colours, fabrics etc. Because quilting is an ever-present I'd have thought that the author would justify this by establishing an interest in the reader on this subject, but it seems to be taken as a given that everyone will find this subject fascinating. I'm afraid I didn't.
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