Elizabeth's Reviews > The Last Runaway

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
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it was ok
bookshelves: fiction

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 and quite another to live by them.

Issues that vex Honor:

Quakers are not allowed to lie or keep secrets BUT the success of the Underground Railroad relies on such prevarication.

How does thy quilt when the very material used to quilt with comes off the backs' of slaves?

Her mother-in-law, Judith, an elder in the Quaker community. Sour-faced and judgy.

Donovan, the slave-catcher. Her loins and all.

Earnest details about quilting, millinery, and social customs add interest to the narrative- as does Mrs. Reed, a Conductor of the Underground Railroad. Most of the other characters are a bit wooden and fall flat. This could have been a fantastic book but for lack of development and oversimplification.

Bummer.



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Reading Progress

February 2, 2013 – Started Reading
February 2, 2013 – Shelved
February 11, 2013 – Shelved as: fiction
February 13, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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message 1: by Steve (last edited Feb 12, 2013 02:54PM) (new)

Steve My grandmother was raised a Quaker. She remembers her older relatives using the thees and thous, but I don't think she had any stories about the Underground Railroad. Too bad.

Two star books (or 2.5 as the case may be) are hard to review, but you did it well, Elizabeth. This one sounds like it didn't quite live up to its potential.


Elizabeth Steve wrote: "My grandmother was raised a Quaker. She remembers her older relatives using the thees and thous, but I don't think she had any stories about the Underground Railroad. Too bad.

Two star books (or..."


Thank you, Steve. I wanted so much more from this book! I am not sure such a subject matter can be "light reading." I wonder that Tracy Chevalier did not trust her readers to go the distance?

Too bad, for sure about your grandmother. I imagine that she still had some great stories though!


message 3: by Tom (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tom Costello Read the Reminiscences of Levi Coffin for a first hand account of the Underground Railroad in Ohio


Elizabeth Tom wrote: "Read the Reminiscences of Levi Coffin for a first hand account of the Underground Railroad in Ohio"

Thank you, Tom. I will add it to my to-read shelf!


Elizabeth Tom wrote: "Read the Reminiscences of Levi Coffin for a first hand account of the Underground Railroad in Ohio"

P.S. This is exactly why I love goodreads! :)


Michal lack of development and oversimplification. The ending really sucks too. What a cop out to end it with a letter. It reads like a draft. so disappointed it with this book. It could have been more.


Geraldine O'Donnell I have almost reached the end of this disappointing book. It started with so much promise but it has turned out to be a very superficial treatment of a story that had great potential.


Elizabeth Michal & Geraldine,

I see that you both had similar problems with the book. And the concept! Missed opportunity. So sad.


Becky Well said, EVE.


Beth S. I am finding it slow but I am plugging through, not as great as her other books I have read.


message 11: by Ruth (new) - added it

Ruth I felt like it was missing a page at the end? one minute she didn't know where she was going the next page she was there? I liked it mostly though.


Aseel El hajj I loved everything about the story until Donovan died 3 and I got pissed off with the fact that the story ended like this! I wish another end, a great story that ended with my disappointmemt :(


Martha Colburn My grandmother was a Quaker, and she spoke to us in the Quaker "plain speech". My dad, also a Quaker, also spoke to his mother in the "plain speech". Now they are both gone, and I miss hearing it.


Eliza Rapsodia Aseel wrote: "I loved everything about the story until Donovan died 3 and I got pissed off with the fact that the story ended like this! I wish another end, a great story that ended with my disappointmemt :("

I agree :( that pissed me off


Becky I just read your review again, EVE, because there was a new message. I love it. You are hilarious!


Samantha Clysdale I give thee a like.


Elizabeth Samantha wrote: "I give thee a like."

thou art a gem. :)


message 18: by Chrissie (new) - added it

Chrissie Chevalier's books are really uneven!


message 19: by Jan (new)

Jan Rice I've read a couple of hers (pre-GR), but no more.....


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