Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reading in 2014 - The Last Runaway

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier 

The Last Runaway'The stunning new novel from the bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Honor Bright is a sheltered Quaker who has rarely ventured out of 1850s Dorset when she impulsively emigrates to America. Opposed to the slavery that defines and divides the country, she finds her principles tested to the limit when a runaway slave appears at the farm of her new family. In this tough, unsentimental place, where whisky bottles sit alongside quilts, Honor befriends two spirited women who will teach her how to turn ideas into actions.'

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tracy Chevalier's books are easy and pleasurable to read, and this one is no exception. Her topics and settings are wide ranging and this novel is set in 1850s America after the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law, the time when the abolitionist movement was gaining support leading to the Civil War.

Chevalier's books are well researched and she generously shares her sources and in the 'Author's Note' provides an interesting summary of the historical facts that form the basis of her novel. I read this book cover-to-cover in one day but after reading the notes at the end of the book I want to go back and re-read it with a little more care and also seek out some of the sources she has listed to find out more about this period in American history. Having little knowledge of the geography of the USA it was useful to be able to reference the map provided at the start of the book from time to time.

I also enjoyed 'Remarkable Creatures' and 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'.

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