The Last Runaway

The Last Runaway - Tracy Chevalier Honor Bright comes to America to accompany her sister to her wedding. Although her own ocean crossing is horrific in terms of seasickness, it is her sister who succumbs to illness and does not make it to their final destination. Being a young, sheltered Quaker woman in 1850’s Ohio Honor finds there is no way to make a life for herself except to marry. And that is exactly what she does, to an honorable and hardworking dairy farmer. A chance encounter with a runaway slave introduces Honor the Underground Railway, the fugitive Slave Act, a bounty hunter and makes Honor question her own faith as a Quaker. What does one do when the teachings of an entire lifetime come to a grinding halt in the face of reality?

Ms. Chevalier’s writing has always managed to get me wrapped up in the story. The Last Runaway is no exception. But she gives us so much more than just the story itself (captivating as it is). She gives us the color (and barrenness) of the time, some insight into the differences of this new America of the mid 1800’s compared to the civility of England and a taste of the traditions and beliefs of the Quakers who settle the land. She even manages a little enlightenment into traditional vs. new world quilting (not an integral part of the story, but very interesting. This book is an example of historical fiction the way it’s supposed to be done.