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The Last Runaway Hardcover – 8 Jan 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 660 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 8 Jan 2013
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Books (8 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525952993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952992
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 16.3 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (660 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,755,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A rich, well-researched novel--it's the story of one young woman becoming an American." --NPR, "All Things Considered"
"Well-told and engrossing . . . With compelling characters and swi pacing, "The Last Runaway "adds a worthy new chapter to a story that has consumed generations."
--"USA Today"
"Irresistible." --"O, Th e Oprah Magazine"
"Chevalier admirably weaves historical figures and actual events into a compelling narrative."
--"San Francisco"" Chronicle" (on "Remarkable Creatures")
"Evokes entire landscapes...a master of voices."
--"New York Times Book Review "(on "Falling Angels")
"Chevalier's signature talent lies in bringing alive the ordinary day-to-dayness of the past...lovingly evoked."
--"Elle "(on "Burning Bright")
"Absorbing...[Chevalier] creates a world reminiscent of a Vermeer interior: suspended in a particular moment, it transcends its time and place."
--"The New Yorker" (on "Girl With a Pearl Earring")
"Chevalier's ringing prose is as radiantly efficient as well-tended silver."
--"Entertainment Weekly "(on "Falling Angels") --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Tracy Chevalier was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She lives in London with her husband and son. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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
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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Format: Hardcover
Girl with a Pearl Earring is a hard act to follow and I don't think Tracy Chevalier has ever reached its heights again. I felt the characters came first in that book and the research second. In all her subsequent books, and definitely in this one, it's the other way round. I've read all her novels because I really like the subjects she chooses. I've found them interesting - but `interesting' is not enough, I want plots and memorable characters too. The Last Runaway is a frustrating read. Much of what Honor, the main character, says or writes home, is regurgitated research. It's all fascinating stuff - patchwork patterns, hat making, the making of American towns by pioneers, the `underground railroad' - but that doesn't make a story. There is no heart-thumping tension - yet hiding and helping runaway slaves was appallingly risky. Belle leapt off the page but none of the other characters came to life for me, not even Honor. I felt I was being told how I should feel about each of them, rather than them being shown clearly enough that I could make up my own mind.
Some of the writing was dull and repetitive, I'm sorry to say - characters `froze' rather often (a phrase I particularly dislike anyway); fabric was invariably `dotted'. If this wasn't by the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring and was instead a manuscript by A. N. Author on a publisher's slush pile it would be returned `Could try harder'.
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Format: Hardcover
I was so looking forward to this as I enjoyed Girl with a Pearl Earring so much. The first few pages are great. However, it quickly descends into a tedious account of quilting and countryside. Some reviewers have said they found the story ridiculous. I didn't at all but I found it hard to dig out the story from so much padding.

Many of the characters are dull and plodding in their hearts and this made them hard to care for. The book could easily have been cut to half it's length; barring the initial inciting incidents, you have to move to about p170 before anything happens. Very disappointing.
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By C. Colley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've enjoyed several books by Tracy Chevalier, and was really pleased to receive a pre-publication copy of The Last Runaway. The story is set in Ohio in the 1850s and follows a young Quaker woman's involvement in helping slaves escape on the Underground Railroad.
Fleeing heartbreak, Quaker girl Honor Bright leaves Dorset and accompanies her sister, Grace, to America. In America, Honor suffers more heartbreak and finds it very hard to adjust to her new life. Eventually, Honor marries Jack Haymaker and tries to make the best of her situation. Whilst adapting to her new life on the Haymaker farm, Honor comes into contact with slaves and helps them escape to freedom via a network of secret routes and safe houses.
The themes in this novel are fascinating, and I loved the historical setting. I enjoyed reading about Quaker life, the quilt making, and learning about how runaway slaves escaped to Canada.
I soon became immersed in Honor's story. The women Honor befriends are strong characters. Belle and Mrs Reed are particularly memorable, and Belle's brother, Donovan, is another character that stands out.
The story is beautifully written, moves along at a reasonable pace and gives a good insight into a fascinating part of American history.
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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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