Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Chevalier, Tracy "The Last Runaway"

Chevalier, Tracy "The Last Runaway" - 2013

I have liked Tracy Chevalier, ever since my first novel written by her, "Girl with a Pearl Earring". I have since read more of her books but not enough, as it looks like.

Her story of an English Quaker girl who emigrates to the United States in the middle of the 19th century is absolutely fantastic. I think with today's background, we can all follow the feelings and thoughts of Honor Bright, we can sympathize with her actions. She was pretty brave to leave her home country to accompany her sister who was going to get married there. Even with the whole family, some would not have done that given the choice.

I think the author researched the background pretty well. None of us has lived at the time but I have read quite a few books about slavery, the Underground Railroad, Quakers, all important topics in this book. We get a long list of books that Tracy Chevalier used for background information which makes me believe that we can trust that it's true what she writes in her story. This is definitely a well written and believable book.

I liked Honor Bright but I liked Belle Mills and Mrs. Reed just as much, if not even more. I could even forgive some of the other characters for what they did. Today, this would be unacceptable but back then, this was how it was.

I also loved that they included a map. I mean, I know where Ohio is but I wouldn't have known where the towns mentioned are supposed to be.

At the end of the book, Tracy Chevalier mentions that it gives hope to us still, that in extreme circumstances we too would still do the right thing. Yes, let's hope that, at least for us, because we can see every day that many, many people don't do the right thing and applaud even those who don't.

At the end of the novel, the author gives some recommendations about further readings. I have read two of the four books mentioned and can only second that opinion.

On the Civil War:
Frazier, Charles "Cold Mountain" - 1997
Jiles, Paulette "Enemy Women" - 2002
Olmstead, Robert "Coal Black Horse" - 2007

On the Effect of Slavery:
Morrison, Toni "Beloved"

From the back cover:

"Honor Bright is a sheltered Quaker who has rarely ventured out of 1850s Dorset when she impulsively emigrates to America. Opposed to the slavery that defines and divides the country, she finds her principles tested to the limit when a runaway slave appears at the farm of her new family. In this tough, unsentimental place, where whisky bottles sit alongside quilts, Honor befriends two spirited women who will teach her how to turn ideas into actions."

8 comments:

  1. I'm a BIG Chevalier fan too. I have a copy of this in a stack of books with titles that start with 'The Last...' (14-15 I think!) and hope to get to it either later this year or early next. I'm definitely looking forward to this one. I also have a copy of 'Enemy Women' waiting to be read.

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    1. Same here, Kitten. I have "Burning Bright" on my TBR pile and there are still a few on my wishlist. One day, I hope to be up to date with her books. She is such a fanastic author.

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  2. I've read a few of Chevalier's books, but not this one. It sounds really good though. :)

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    1. If you liked her other books, Lark, you will love this one, as well. I think she is a great writer and can fascinate all kinds of different readers.

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  3. I read The Last Runaway in November 2021. I truly enjoyed reading The Last Runaway... In fact, it made my top ten list of favorite reads of 2021. https://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2021/12/the-last-runaway-by-tracy-chevalier.html

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    1. I'm not surprised, Lisa. I am sure her book will turn up of my top ten of this year. Thanks for the link.

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  4. Oooh, this sounds excellent! I enjoyed GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING, but that's the only book I've read by Chevalier. I'm definitely going to add this one to the TBR pile. Thanks for the rec!

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    1. As I already said to Lark ^^, if you liked her others (or in your case just the one), you will also like this one. She really is a fantastic author. Thanks, Susan.

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