Everyone has a piece of God in them, she reminded herself, even a man hiding in the yard…..She had grown up with the understanding that slavery was wrong and must be opposed, but that had been all thoughts and words. Now she must actually do something, though she did not know what. (141)
Ahhh, those moments when you open a book, read the first page and realize ~ “finally, one I can sink my teeth into!” Tracy Chevalier has written a beautiful novel of one woman’s journey from England to the Quaker settlement in Ohio during the 1850s.
Honor Bright makes a tragic journey across the seas to begin a new life in Ohio. As a Quaker, there are many rules and values that Honor has been raised with ~ like Quakers are known to never tell a lie, and Quakers believe in equality for ALL men….which is why so many Quakers were involved in the Underground Railroad prior to the Civil War. Quakers are also known to have a focused, intent relationship with God.
Once Honor arrives at the Quaker settlement and discovers it is not everything she was led to believe; she must learn to adapt to the raw prairie life and differences amongst her new Quakers “Friends.” She learns that standing up for her values and principles are easy when you’re surrounded by familiarity, but in the absence of family and friends she knows and loves, Honor must stand her ground or lose her faith.
Throughout the novel, Honor grows and develops as a woman, a pioneer and as a new American. My favorite character overall in The Last Runaway! One small improvement that could have made a world of difference in the believability of the novel is that the bad guy does not “seem” all that bad. Many of the supporting characters were one-dimensional, with Honor appearing to be the only character with any real personal growth.
The Ohio landscape played an important role as well as the values and beliefs of the pioneer Quakers. I enjoyed learning so much about this culture of pioneers who helped so much with the Underground Railroad and seeing slaves to freedom. This novel touches on a subject not typically explored in historic novels or fiction. And it is perfect for the reader who wants to learn more about Quakers, life just before the Civil War, settling in Ohio and immigrating from England…..Truly a remarkable novel and one that I will be recommending for years to come!
Look for the measure of Light in her, she counseled herself, for it is there, as it is in every person. Never forget that. (276)
To enter the giveaway for a hard-bound copy of The Last Runaway, please leave a comment below. Have you read Tracy Chevalier’s novel The Girl With The Pearl Earring? or seen the movie? Winner will be chosen on January 21st and entries will be accepted through January 20th at 11:59 pm EST.