Last Runaway, The

Chevalier, Tracy

  17 Reviews

Honor Bright's name perfectly describes her disposition, one well suited to the trials that await her: crossing the Atlantic, the death of her sister and making a home in Ohio.

It is the 1850s and Honor arrives in a period of turmoil for the Quaker community she has to marry into. The Underground Railway is in full swing and Honor, against the wishes of her new family, is compelled by her faith to help the runaways. Much is at stake but Honor is not one to back down from a challenge whether it be from the community who demands conformity, or from the slave hunters set on enforcing the law.

The appealing combination of Quakers, quilting and moral quandaries makes for an engaging and heart-warming read. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups

We really enjoyed it. One of our best discussions as we have an interest in historical events. Stratford 001

A surprisingly light read given the subject matter. The group generally enjoyed it, although we thought it would be a good book for high school students as it approaches slavery in a manner unlikely to disturb anyone. However, if you enjoy books about colonial America, particularly the lives of women, and you're interested in quilting, you'll love this book...... Christchurch 299

....We had a thoughtful discussion around the various themes of the book - Quakers' beliefs, slavery, how we would act in the same situation, how difficult it is to stand on principle when most others in the community feel differently. Some of the group thought it was lightweight, but may have changed their minds after the discussion. Tauranga 009

We thought the book was ok but not marvellous. Picton 001

We all absolutely loved this book. Wellington 137

We enjoyed this book with its strong women characters.... The slavery situation and bravery of those in the Underground Railway was challenging to read about. Auckland 271

Very detailed day-to-day doings were a little tedious at first, but action gathered pace later in the book. It aroused interest in Quakerism and quilting, and the history of slavery in America.... Auckland 039

Everyone enjoyed this book with only a few reservations - a couple of members felt that the male characters needed further development. But then others thought it was primarily a book about women of strength and fortitude - in very challenging situations. Havelock North 012

A book with a layered title was bound to generate discussion. All knew of the Runaway Railroad but few knew of its extent. We learned a lot about the Society of Friends, and the quilters in the group rounded out the knowledge we gleaned from the quilts mentioned in the story. Katikati 001



CHCH 294
An easy read enjoyed by all. We have an outstanding quilter in our group who was able to explain the history of English and American quilters.
CHCH 282
This was an easy read and we learnt lots about Quakers and silence, Ohio, early America, slavery and the Underground Railway - we all wanted to know more! There were a couple of members who thought it was not unlike a Mills and Boon book, and wondered why they'd wasted their time reading it.
CHCH 446
We all enjoyed this book, and found the quilting theme an interesting aspect. The difference that Honor experienced between life in America, and her old life in England was portrayed very well through the use of her letters back to her family. There was so much to take from this title, - cultural issues - England vs America, Quakerism and pacificism, the slavery theme, and the social impacts of life in a new country. Some found the characterisation a bit one dimensional, and felt that we didn't really get to know Honor as much as we would have liked, but nevertheless it was a popular read.
KAIK 001
Excellent. We all loved this book and felt we learnt so much from it about Quakers, slavery and patchwork quilting.
NELS 077
Gentle and enjoyable story. A lot of quilting! Interesting to learn more about Quakers and this time in American history.
CHCH 240
Loved by our team - a quick read but enjoyable. Beautifully written with a wonderful insight into Quaker lifestyle, quilting, and the plight of former slaves. Interesting relationships between characters well portrayed, however the letters home filled the gaps and were a delightful picturesque and descriptive way of providing depth to an otherwise factual story-line - considering there is no romance, love or warmth expressed between characters, based on the Quaker Society way of life.
MAST 007
Enjoyed by all, especially the quilting aspect.
GISB 006
Well-written and structured. The ending linked well to the title.
AUCK 009
Well-written in parts, but a bit predictable. However, it did lead to some good discussion about all sorts of related and unrelated topics.
The group was split over this book. Some really enjoyed it, but a few found it lacked a strong plot and wasn't up to the quality of other books they had read by the same author. Interesting discussion had around those 2 schools of thought. However, all enjoyed the insight into Quaker life, particularly in relation to its relevance in the 21st century, and its comparison with other religious sects.
One of the most memorable books this year - enjoyed by everyone. Generated much discussion about slavery and also about the religion of the Quakers. Well-written, and not what was expected of the plot initially. Great imagery. A great read.
An easy read which we all enjoyed. Good discussion had on how to deal with change in your life, and challenges to your beliefs.
AUCK 284
An enjoyable light read; an interesting insight into a Quaker's life in the 19th century.
TAKA 001
We all loved this book and felt we learnt so much about Quakers, the slave trade and quilting - wonderful.
AUCK 293
A fabulous story. Women had such a hard life in that era, and were so dependent on men. We have come a long way. Heart warming to read of brave women hiding runaway slaves, and putting their lives at risk.
WINT 001
It was an easy book to read but the group didn't enjoy it as much as one of her previous books, Girl With A Pearl Earring. Everyone found something of interest whether it be the Underground Railway, quilting or the life of Quakers. The general under-development of characters was a disappointment. Overall though we felt it gave a good picture of life in Ohio in the 1850s, especially as it was contrasted with life in England at the same time.
Our group generally liked this book, though some of us felt its characters, especially the men, were underdefined. We enjoyed the depictions of American settlers' lives, the isolation, making new communities, the slavery story, the Quaker lifestyle, the quilting descriptions and the differences between English and American communities. We did feel it was quite close to chick-lit in its easy style. We learnt a lot about some aspects of history we weren't quite aware of before. Rating: 7/10.