‘The last Runaway’, by Tracy Chevalier. (discussed by Bideford Library Readers’Group.)
What a novel – superbly written – full of intrigue, and one can only admire Honor’s determination strength in a country and family where she was so alone and alien to the very strict Quaker regime. Her eagerness to support the runaway slaves is both humbling and commendable.
The reader is taken through her long, tough voyage by sea. Heartbroken at losing her sister and missing her family back home Honor struggles with a new way of life, and it’s almost a relief when she meets warm, down-to-earth friend Belle.
Later after being almost stifled in one family her marriage to Jack is happier, but she always feels the outsider within his family too.
The vivid descriptions of her experiences and observations in letters to her family and friends back home are often full of love and positive to the end. Her quilt making helps her to seek acceptance and possibly keeps her sane. She feels trapped and frustrated not just with Jack’s family, but within the community.
She feels the disapproval from the Haymakers on a daily basis although loves Jack and tries hard to work and accept the very dull and tedious life on the farm.
Honor ‘s courage to support the slaves, risking her life ( and her child’s) whilst protecting them and confronting Donavan as he persists in his trail to track them down is exciting and the novel is a page turner to the very end! Tracy Chevalier writes with immense knowledge of the Quakers’ beliefs and way of life. It is also so visual in the way she explores racism, friendships and survival -all part of Honor’s new life in 1850s America.
It was both disturbing and tragic – yet steeped in history and full of adventure.
PS Not everyone in the group agreed with Margie and some found it difficult to relate to the main character. We all however thought it was a well researched novel.
Feel Better With a Book at Bideford Library!
Come and join our friendly and informal ‘Feel Better with a book’ group!
The group meet between 10.30 and 12.00 every Wednesday morning at Bideford Library. Enjoy the power of words read aloud in a small friendly group. Relax and listen while a facilitator reads aloud from old and new stories and poems and share responses over a cup of tea. Join in or just sit back and relax! The sessions are free and open to all. For more information about the group please contact Bideford Library on 01237 476075 or just pop along to one of the sessions and see what you think!