Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Can't keep it to myself: The Last Runaway

Since reading Girl with a Pearl Earring way back in 2000, I've been a fan of Tracy Chevalier's work.  The Last Runaway, published this month, just reinforces my admiration for her ability to capture a moment in history via a singular heroine. 

Young English Quaker Honor Bright decides at the last moment to accompany her sister, Grace, to America, where Grace's intended is working in Ohio.  No one is expecting Honor to arrive, let alone minus her sister.  Finding herself relying on strangers and struggling after illness, Honor makes several unlikely friends and begins a personal journey as a part of the Underground Railroad. 

There is so much to talk about in this novel, but I really don't want to give away any of the good bits.  I will say that Ohio in 1850 was prime-time for quilting, and Chevalier does a fabulous job conveying how a craft like quilting would pervade so many aspects of a woman's life.  Chevalier's eye for detail never falters, and I was delighted with the sights and sounds of American life at the time, especially through the eyes of one so new to the States.

Admirable, and highly recommended.

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