Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Last Runaway

By Tracy Chevalier

The Last Runaway is the story of Honor Bright, a young Quaker woman who emigrated from England in the mid 1800’s. Honor decides to accompany her sister to America after being jilted at the altar. Honor’s sister has arranged to marry her fiancĂ© when she reaches Ohio. Unfortunately, she does not survive the journey. As Honor tries to find her place in the world while living in different households, she meets a successful farmer in Oberlin and marries him. Honor is a good farmwife and an excellent quilter. Her troubles with her new family stem from a difference in views on slavery. Oberlin, Ohio, is a major station on the Underground Railway. Honor feels a calling to help slaves escape to Canada although her mother-in-law strictly forbids it. The main conflict in the story appears when Honor breaks the rules of the home and runs away right before her baby is born.

There is a great deal of uncertainty in Honor's future throughout the book, but she maintains a positive attitude and hope for the future. After a slow start, I had trouble putting this book down. This is a good selection for those interested in Ohio history, the Underground Railroad, and quilting/farm life. Romance is interwoven into this story as well.