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The Last Runaway
by Tracy Chevalier

Published: 2013-01-08
Hardcover : 320 pages
14 members reading this now
18 clubs reading this now
4 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 4 of 5 members
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 ...
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Introduction

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 saga, she introduces Honor Bright, a modest English Quaker who moves to Ohio in 1850, only to find herself alienated and alone in a strange land. Sick from the moment she leaves England, and fleeing personal disappointment, she is forced by family tragedy to rely on strangers in a harsh, unfamiliar landscape.

Nineteenth-century America is practical, precarious, and unsentimental, and scarred by the continuing injustice of slavery. In her new home Honor discovers that principles count for little, even within a religious community meant to be committed to human equality.

However, drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, Honor befriends two surprising women who embody the remarkable power of defiance. Eventually she must decide if she too can act on what she believes in, whatever the personal costs.

A powerful journey brimming with color and drama, The Last Runaway is Tracy Chevalier’s vivid engagement with an iconic part of American history.

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

1.
2. Silence in this novel seems to play different roles: communal religious silence at Meeting, individual reflection to which Honor attributes her own fine sewing, and there is also the Quaker community's more unsettling silence towards slavery. Discus
3. What are Honor's true feelings towards Donovan, and how do they change? Do you think her relationship with Donovan reveals aspects of her character that we don't see in her relationships with others?
by Mira (see profile) 04/26/13

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

We had an Ohio-themed night
by pamglauber (see profile) 04/26/13
Since this story is about an English girl adjusting to farm life in Ohio, I bought some buckeyes, served cheese and crackers, and put a quilted pillow sham on the table as a runner. Fun touches + wine = great night with the girls.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "The Last Runaway"by susanokc (see profile) 03/18/15

We all enjoyed the book and it created good discussion. We hadn't really read much about the Quakers or the Underground Railway. We enjoyed learning about both.

 
  "The Last Runaway"by Jen Winterbottom (see profile) 07/09/13

An interesting intersection of quaker culture and a historical picture of slavery in America. Characters were at times one dimensional and unconvincing. Chevalier has written better.

 
  "A Wonderful Book about Faith, Love, and History"by RockinRenee (see profile) 07/02/13

Chevalier's novel is both gripping and pleasant. The action centers around a Quaker woman who moves from England to America in search for new surroundings and a fresh start. What she finds is country... (read more)

 
  "The Last Runaway"by Mira (see profile) 04/26/13

My group generally liked the book. We had an interesting discussion about Quakers, quilting, marriage, frontier America and Ohio. Most of us had read other books by Chevalier and there was a mixed review... (read more)

 
  "Good Writing, but Slow"by pamglauber (see profile) 04/26/13

I chose this book because I love Tracy Chevalier's stuff. And this book wasn't bad. But ... three chapters in, the main character was still describing how she stitches quilts ... in excruciating detail.... (read more)

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