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The Last Runaway

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  18,806 ratings  ·  2,941 reviews
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
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by E.P. Dutton (first published 2012)
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Oh, goodreads. Why does thee not allow for a half star rating? If thy did, I would give this book a solid 2.5 star rating. For the cover-art, I would give thy a 5 star rating. But I digress.

Tracy Chevalier's latest book examines the Quakers' role in the Underground Railroad during the mid-1800s. We see this time period through the eyes of one Honor Bright, a recent emigrate from England. Honor is a twenty year old who (like most twenty somethings) finds it is one thing to profess moral ideals a
The Book Maven
Simply put, this is one of the BEST historical novels I have ever read.

The plot: After being jilted by her fiance in England, Quaker woman Honor Bright decides to accompany her sister Grace to America and help Grace adjust to her upcoming marriage and impending life as a pioneer woman. But when tragedy befalls them, Honor finds herself alone in a strange country, dependent on the kindness of strangers and trying to learn the customs of 1850s Ohio--still a rough and wild place. Furthermore, she h
This novel was enjoyable enough. However, reading it gives one a sensation of floating atop the story - nothing pulls a person in or attaches itself to the reader's emotions. The story is just too light.

The first hundred pages are largely given over to quilting patterns and sewing techniques, which is fine enough if one has a taste for such thorough narrations of domestique intricacies; but a reader choosing this book based on the cover description would be disappointed. It leaves one to believ
Lydia Presley
I am trying to figure out today what made this book so unputdownable last night (I was up reading it until I finished at 3am) and the only thing I can come up with is the character of Honor Bright. She is such a sympathetic character and I wanted to know what happened to her.

The Last Runaway is the story of Honor Bright, a young Quaker woman who leaves England to escape an unpleasant past that is not of her own doing, and her attempt to fit into the American society in a small town in Ohio. Ther
I did not like this as much as I thought I would. I like Chevalier, I like Historical Fiction, and I adore books of this period. That's why the book gets a three star rating from me, but it leans towards the lower end of the 3. The book's weakness to me is the wishy-washy main character Honor Bright. She drifts along with events, believes in Silence so much that she doesn't seem to have any thoughts, and above all she didn't make me believe that she was sincere.

Honor Bright is an English Quaker
Oy! I've enjoyed a couple of Chevalier's other works many years ago. They are light, interesting, fun books to read/listen to. The artistic side of the story adds appeal and interest for me, as I enjoy crafting and the arts, etc.
This story, however, seems to miss all the marks. The characters seem flat. Honore is too naïve, despite her sheltered upbringing. She is acting on convictions that we, the readers, can't believe she has...or, if she has them, where she got them from. She shakes at an u
Sandra Danby
Tracy Chevalier is so skilled at getting under the skin of the protagonist in a specific period whether it's a 19th century fossil collector or a 15th century Belgian weaver, you always believe her.
Honor Bright is a real person from page 1 of ‘The Last Runaway’ and you are rooting for her. The book tackles a difficult subject: the rights and wrongs of helping escaping slaves, and the moral issue this poses for Ohio’s Quakers. Honor struggles to understand this sometimes frightening new country
Sue Girga
I'm not good at doing plot summaries in my reviews, because I'm always afraid I'll give too much away.
That being said, I've never read this author, but had the recommendation after reading "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker."
I cannot STAND people trying to tell me what I should read to understand slavery, history, etc (I'll make people mad, but I'm thinking about Oprah's book recommendations). But, I often take stands on issues or say I would've taken a stand had I lived in (fill in the blank) era...b
After being spurned by her fiancé in 1850s England, Quaker Honor Bright accompanies her sister Grace to Ohio, where Grace is to be married. Soon Honor must fend for herself. Feeling unwelcomed by her sister’s fiance and his sister-in-law, Honor marries a local Quaker man and moves to his family's farm, where she also feels unwanted. Against their wishes, Honor becomes involved in assisting runaway slaves.

This book was just good enough to keep me reading, but Honor was so judgmental and priggish
2.5 stars

I'm definitely a fan of this author but this book was just okay. I was hoping for more on the Underground Railroad instead there was a lot of quilting and sewing descriptions.
I’ve been an admirer of Tracy Chevalier’s novels, especially Girl with a Pearl Earring and Remarkable Creatures, so I looked forward to this novel. Unfortunately, I was disappointed; this book is not of the caliber I’ve come to expect from this author.

The novel is set in the 1850s in Ohio. Honor Bright, a Quaker, leaves England after being jilted and finds herself in Ohio where she struggles to adapt to a new life. She becomes involved in the Underground Railroad despite the objections of her hu
Great book! My third book in as many months on the subject of slavery.

Here we have young Honour Bright and her sister Grace who are English Quakers. Honour is let down by her suitor who marries someone else outside of the faith. When Grace decides to follow her young man and join him in Ohio Honour goes too. Due to fever Honour is left alone in a strange country where the Quakers condemn slavery whilst living amongst it. Her own principles do not allow her to turn away runaways as many of the Am
From the bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, I was expecting a good historical read and I wasn't disappointed. Set in Ohio in the 1850s, the novel tells the story of Honour Bright, a Quaker, who leaves England and travels to the New World accompanying her sister Grace who is to be married. However, tragedy strikes and leaves her alone in an unfamiliar land where she must depend on the kindness of strangers.

She joins a Quaker community there, marries and is known for her quilting abi
I really enjoyed this story of Honor Bright - great name! The letters written home painted a picture of the isolation Honor felt in her spirit. When questioned about what she liked and her answer said she found lightning bugs “cheerful and welcoming” it was a clear word picture of her solitude that went beyond the silent times at church.
I appreciated the description of Honor’s realization of the background of the cotton fabric that she used. “She had always loved fabric, admiring the weaves and
This is the story of Englishwoman Honor Bright who joins her to-be-wed sister, Grace, to voyage across the ocean and settle in Ohio. Grace dies from yellow fever on the journey from New York to Ohio leaving Honor, unexpected with Grace's intended as well as his newly widowed sister-in-law. The town of Faithwell, Ohio is a peaceful and unwelcoming Quaker town. The Quaker leaders are uncomfortable with Adam Cox (Grace's fiancee) living with two single women so encourage him to marry Abigail. Honor ...more
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 whit
The protagonist Honor Bright is a very principled Quaker. She is surrounded by other Quakers all of whom are opposed to slavery. Yet not all of them are willing to act on their principles. I feel that this is the central theme of The Last Runaway. Why are so many people afraid or unwilling to take a stand? Should they be judged for their inaction? When it comes to an important issue such as slavery, there were consequences for both action and inaction which are fully illustrated in this book.


In 1850, Honor Bright, an English Quaker, accompanied her sister, Grace, to the United States. Grace is to be married to a man from their hometown who is now living near Oberlin, Ohio. Honor was to have been married in England, but the wedding was cancelled.
When she arrives, her plans abruptly changed and she finds herself having to depend on strangers. The unfamiliar landscape and different lifestlyle cause her much distress, even when she finds a home in a Quaker community. W
L’argomento sarebbe anche stato interessante, ovvero un pezzo di storia americana, attorno al 1850, narrata da una quacchera, giunta da poco nel nuovo paese dall’Inghilterra, che, come i suoi correligionari in generale, è contraria alla schiavitù e si adopera per favorire la fuga delle persone di colore verso il Canada, scontrandosi per questo motivo sia con la legge, sia con la famiglia del marito. Tuttavia, il tenore della narrazione è piuttosto inconsistente, ripetitivo, monotono, superficial ...more
JoAnne Pulcino
Tracy Chevalier

This wonderful novel begins in 1850 when a modest English Quaker named Honor Bright leaves England fleeing personal problems. On the very difficult journey she is forced by tragedy to rely on strangers in this rugged, harsh and unfamiliar land.

Nineteenth century America is scarred by the injustice of slavery, and Honor's principles are sorely tested by a community supposedly commited to human equality. Drawn into the Underground Railroad she encounters two commited, st
I'd give this book a 3.5, were it possible, but a 4 would be a stretch. The reason for my markdown is not because of the story, nor even the characters or imagery, all of which I found perfectly compelling, but because I couldn't believe that the publisher let this book go to press in its current state. The accumulation of flaws, which were purely technical, gave the book the feel of a second draft with great potential.

1). Call me particular, but the number of be verbs per page--not to mention t
Marybeth Anderson
Though Chevalier is quite adept at the art of description, I feel it kills the pacing in this book. It was not until about page 180 that I truly became engaged in Honor's struggle, as the larger issue of slavery was more interesting to me than quilt or bonnet details.

Additionally, I found Chevalier's use of language perplexing and seemingly inaccurate at times. "Thee" is the informal version of "you" (used long ago), but is the object form. (For example, "The bell tolls for thee.") However, Che
Wisteria Leigh
Tracy Chevalier is a familiar author to me. Girl With a Pearl Earring still stands out as one of my favorite historical fiction selections. The Last Runaway takes place prior to the American Civil War in the border state of Ohio. Honor Bright left her homeland of England to travel with her sister Grace to America. Shortly after their arrival Grace dies leaving Honor in a tenuous position regarding her future. Honor Bright is a Quaker and holds dear the tenets of her religion. She values honesty ...more
RoseMary Achey
The Last Runaway is the story of Honor Bright, a young Quaker woman who emigrates from England in the mid 1800’s. Honor decides to accompany her sister to America after being jilted at the altar.

Honor’s sister is to meet and marry her fiancé in Ohio. Unfortunately, the sister does not survive the journey. Honor continues on to Ohio and after an awkward period living with her sister’s finance she marries another Quaker farmer from their small community.

Oberlin, Ohio is a major station on the Un
I finished another fantastic book this morning (at 3:30 am), and I thought I’d share it with you. It’s called The Last Runaway and it’s written by bestselling author, Tracy Chevalier. It’s a story about change, and courage, and hope. It’s a story that will transport you back to the time of slavery and make you feel like you’re hiding alongside the running slaves.

“Ohio 1850. For a modest English Quaker stranded far from home, life is a trial. Untethered from the moment she leaves England, fleeing
Beth Davis
This is a book that improves with each chapter. At first I was irritated by the letters that wrap up each chapter, but even that device worked better as the novel unfolded. Donovan may be the most unbelievable character, and some stereotypes are in evidence (the difficult mother-in-law and the crusty older woman with a heart of gold), but the main character comes to life, and her conflicts are what propel the novel. Two thoughts I loved: "Look for the measure of light ... For it is there, as it ...more
MaryannC.Book Fiend
OMGOSH!! I absolutely loved this story of a young Quaker girl named Honor Bright who journeys from England to Ohio to start her life anew. I was enthralled by this story and it's characters. Tracy Chevalier captured the voices of The Old South with the hope of the runaway slaves Honor encounters seeking freedom, to Honor Bright's inner turmoil learning the ways of a new country she does not understand. It was very descriptive and heartfelt. This one earns a place among my Favorites List!
Heather Fineisen
This book really struck a chord with me, nostalgia for my Gran' s quilts and canning. Chevalier creates an interesting and original point of view with Honor Bright, an English Quaker transplanted to Oberlin, Ohio and the tail end of the underground railroad. The runaway slaves are in the background but unobtrusively command attention, seemingly mirroring the historical fact of the tension and morality faced by those seeking freedom. Well done!
Viviane Crystal
Honor Bright is an English Quaker who has emigrated from England with her sister, Grace, who hopes to marry a former resident of her hometown. Grace, however, dies on the voyage to America and Honor arrives full of grief and confusion. Honor also had a boyfriend in England who dropped her for another young woman, a fact that devastated Honor so much she felt she had to leave the place where she would always be labeled as the gal who was “jilted” by her one and only great love. So the goal is for ...more
Holly Weiss
Article first published as Book Review: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier on Blogcritics.

Honor Bright leaves her English family to accompany her sister to America, thinking she can always return to England, but realizing that her life may take drastic turns. The Last Runaway thus opens with its underlying premise that our choices require actions, which may come at personal cost. After a month-long voyage filled with nausea, Honor steps on American soil and travels by stagecoach to Ohio, only t
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19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.

Nerdy. Spent a lot of time lying on my bed reading. Favorite authors back then: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeleine L’Engle, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander. Book I would have taken to a desert island: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

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“I have a bed and enough to eat and kind people about me. God is still with me. For these things I am grateful and have no reason to complain” 8 likes
“Perhaps thee will best understand what Abigail is like if I tell thee that when she quilts she prefers to stitch in the ditch, hiding her poor stitches in the seams between the blocks.” 3 likes
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