Monday, December 24, 2012

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

Honor Bright leaves her Quaker home in England to follow her sister to America, where the sister will wed her new husband.  Honor doesn't plan on being sea sick the entire trip.  She also doesn't expect her sister to contract a disease and die before reaches her betrothed.  In a new land with new sayings and where everybody is a stranger, Honor will have to find her own place and attempt to fit into a new life.

Dutton and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It will be available for sale on January 8th.  You'll want to make a note so you can look for it at your local bookstore.

I was very impressed with this story.  It's set in 1850 and the challenges facing Honor are multiple.  She ends up living with her sister's beau and his sister-in-law.  Her husband had died shortly before Honor arrived.  It's an uncomfortable relationship between them all, and she knows she has to find another answer.  She does meet a young Quaker man that she's attracted to and she decides to marry him.  But life in his family's house is no easier than the one she just left. 

Another challenge for her is slavery.  She's in a location that is part of the Underground Railway and she sees no harm in sharing a bit of food and a warm place in the barn to sleep for one night.  Her husband and his family do.  So does the slave catcher, Donovan.  The worst part is that Honor finds herself attracted to Donovan, too.

Some people compromise their beliefs; others defend them.  Donovan's sister helps them escape; he helps capture them.  Honor is in the middle. 

The ending is horrific but very believable.  It shocked me, made me sad, and I want to rewrite it, but it's an appropriate end to such a volatile situation.  It may not impact you as much, but it's an ending I won't forget.  You read the book and let me know what you think of the ending. I'd like to know if it hit other people that way.

Happy reading.         

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