Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Last Runaway” as Want to Read:
The Last Runaway
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Last Runaway

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  32,994 ratings  ·  4,088 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 January 3rd 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Last Runaway, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kathy Ding Just want to say that I have the same exact burning question about this because it conflicts with everything else about Quakers being super strict and…moreJust want to say that I have the same exact burning question about this because it conflicts with everything else about Quakers being super strict and religious about all facets of life. So no one can wear colors, dance, sing, but premarital sex with an almost stranger in the cornfields is totes okay? At that point, Jack hasn't even proposed or cemented his decision to marry her yet! It's the one part of the story I just couldn't jive with.(less)
Lizzie Emery I emailed Tracy Chevalier to ask her about this. Apparently the Quakers used thee and thou two ways – correctly and incorrectly, but Tracy's research …moreI emailed Tracy Chevalier to ask her about this. Apparently the Quakers used thee and thou two ways – correctly and incorrectly, but Tracy's research revealed that the incorrect way was more common, so she decided to go with it. I was pleased to hear this because it had been spoiling my enjoyment of the book, which I now think is her best yet.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  32,994 ratings  ·  4,088 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Last Runaway
Amalia Gkavea
‘’I am excluded even from the excluded, she thought.’’

Tracy Chevalier is one of those writers who have contributed in the development of Historical Fiction as we know it today. Her writing contains beautiful metaphors and a successful combination of a fresh, modern feeling and a kind of dialogue that is faithful to the depicted era. Girl With A Pearl Earring managed to bring the Netherlands to focus and started a whole array of books set during the 17th century, inspired by the magnificent pain
reading is my hustle
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 ...more
A Quaker girl from England landed up in Faithwell, Ohio, 1850, right in the middle of the Underground Railroad's path. Heartsick and homesick, Honor Haymaker struggled to wrap her mind around the slavery laws of America and the way it was applied in the northern states. Milking cows, sewing quilts, making hay, bottling the bounty of summer for the harsh uncompromising winters, tapping maple trees for syrup, making cheese, obeying her mother-in-law, and being a good wife, drained her from everyth ...more
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Honor Bright follows her sister Grace over to America in 1850. She crosses the sea in the Adventurer and makes her slow way to Faithwell, Ohio. She meets despair and tragedy along the way and quickly finds herself in an uncomfortable situation almost as quickly as she arrives. Honor is a Quaker and lives within her community of Friends. She finds that Faithwell is a stop for runaway slaves from the South on their North Star path to Oberlin and onto Canada.

I enjoyed each chapter ended with a let
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Lydia Presley
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Inspiring and realistic. A heart warming tale of one woman's unexpected journey to ferry runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad and saving her soul and self in the process. ...more
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sandra Danby
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
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
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Connie G
After leaving England, Honor Bright is on her own after the death of her sister soon after they reached the United States. She arrives in Ohio in 1850 with her Quaker religion and her excellent sewing skills, but little else. We see Ohio through the eyes of a newcomer as Honor tries to fit into her new environment. Ohio is at a crossroad with pioneers traveling through to the west, and runaway slaves traveling north to Canada.

At that time, many Quakers were involved in the Underground Railroad,
Shelagh Rice
This was such a well written book it's hard to know where to start. Fabulous characters set against the backdrop of the beginning of the end of slavery. Honor Bright the main character, brings us on a journey of her emigration to America, her religion as a Quaker and her battle to please her new family in the continuing injustice of slavery. There are other really strong characters on both sides on the divide during this powerful episode in American history. It covers the underground railway and ...more
Sue Fernandez
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Diane S ☔
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite authors, I love the historical subjects she picks to write about and she does it brilliantly. In this book she tackles quilting, hat making, the Quakers and the underground railroad. Her writing is so fluid, almost effortless and her characters are so very interesting. I never knew there were so many Quakers here in the states, but I did know their faith kept them from fighting, drinking, and that they strongly believed that everyone was equal. Set in Ohio, many slaves passed ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: personal-library
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
Katie Lumsden
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A really great read - engaging, moving with fascinating historical detail. I would highly recommend.
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Leslie Reese
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
The power of this book is quite subtle. The year is 1850 and 20-year-old Honor Bright is traveling with her sister, Grace, from Bridport in England across the Atlantic ocean to New York and then on to Ohio. I thought the story was going to be about one set of things, but Tracy Chevalier went in some different directions.

Her recipe for this story combines research into Quaker beliefs, practices, and lifestyles; with issues surrounding the abolition of slavery and The Fugitive Slave Act; 19th cen
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
I like Tracy Chevalier a lot.
I like the way she leads us into the time and place of her historical novels.
I really enjoyed reading this book and learn about the Quakers and how the Underground Railroad worked, and also about quilting, especially about Quaker quilts that I've never heard of before.
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Czarny Pies
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mother in law haters.
Tracy Chevalier's "Last Runaway" would be an excellent novel for any European to read or for any immigrant who attended primary and secondary school outside of North America. Unfortunately the "Last Runaway" contains very little that cannot be found in one of many novels that school children in North America are made to read about slaves fleeing to Canada prior to American Civil War of 1861-65.
Chevalier's novel reminded me in particular of "The Underground Railroad: Escape From Slavery" which t
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa, fiction, 2013-reads
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
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was ok

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
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.

MaryannC. Book Freak
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! ...more
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my third book by Tracy Chevalier in quick succession and I just can't get enough!

Although this is a quiet story about a woman in 1850 who moves from England to America there is plenty of interest.
She is a Quaker who experiences tragedy when her sister and travelling companion dies leaving her to cope in a foreign land. Not only does she have to find a place for herself but she also tries to help slaves who are fleeing their situations to find freedom.

I really liked the main character an
Oct 26, 2013 rated it liked it
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: (Poll Ballot) The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier - 4 stars 1 9 Jun 13, 2020 08:22AM  
Fabiblio: The Last Runaway 1 3 Apr 15, 2020 09:08AM  
Review e-library book 1 3 Apr 05, 2020 01:50AM  
Cranbury Public L...: Apr 15 - The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier 1 3 Feb 19, 2020 02:28PM  
Play Book Tag: The Last Runaway Tracy Chevalier 4 stars 1 10 Jan 28, 2020 10:28PM  
Play Book Tag: The Last Runaway - Tracy Chevalier 2 15 Jan 17, 2020 07:42AM  
Play Book Tag: The Last Runaway / Tracy Chevalier - 2.5** 1 15 Jul 08, 2016 06:45PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Nanny
  • Cooking for Two: 120 Recipes for Every Day and Those Special Nights
  • Sacred Hearts
  • My Name is Mary Sutter (Mary Sutter, #1)
  • The Four Winds
  • The Book of Lost Friends
  • Hamnet
  • Under the Light of the Italian Moon
  • The Indigo Girl
  • A Castle of Doomsday
  • Confessions of a Pagan Nun
  • Coming Clean: The True Story of a Cocaine Drug Lord and His Unexpected Encounter with God
  • Sgythia - Hanes John Dafis, Rheithor Mallwyd
  • The Player
  • God Of Surprises
  • Finding Peace
  • After Stroke
  • Midnight in St. Petersburg
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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.


Articles featuring this book

The historical novelist known for Girl with the Pearl Earring sets her newest, The Last Runaway, in 1850 Ohio, where a Quaker woman helps run the...
55 likes · 23 comments
“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” 16 likes
“What made him most attractive was that he was attracted to her. Another’s interest can be a powerful stimulant. She could feel his eyes on her as an almost physical pressure.” 7 likes
More quotes…