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January 25, 2013 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

The Last RunawayThe Last Runaway
by Tracy Chevalier
Narrated by Kate Reading

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publish Date: January 24, 2013
Format: Audio, 9 hours | 51 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 4 of 5

Honor Bright, a young English Quaker woman, is traveling with her sister on a ship headed to America. Her sister has a fiance in Ohio and Honor has accompanied her with hopes to begin a new life after a difficult romantic breakup back home. It’s 1850 and the voyage to America is not easy for Honor who suffers from constant seasickness. Soon after their arrival her sister is struck down by Yellow Fever and Honor is now on her own in a foreign country.

Honor continues the journey to Ohio and marries a local man soon after arriving. She finds America a much different and harsher land than England. She struggles to adapt and finds fitting in with her new family to be difficult. The housing is strange and unfamiliar. The words used to describe foods, birds, flowers and even the quilting styles and patterns are different.

When Honor learns about runaway slaves and The Underground Railroad, she feel compelled to help those passing through their land by offering food and shelter, much to the disapproval of her new family. Ultimately Honor must make a decision to act on her convictions or concede to the demands of her family to not interfere.

The descriptions are vivid and detailed and the setting in a small Quaker community comes to life. There is quite a lot of detail on stitching and quilting which I found interesting. Having taken a traditional hand quilting class years ago I have an appreciation of the difficulty in stitching and the amount of time involved. My ‘quilt’ is still unfinished 30 years later, but I digress.

Not only did I enjoy the story, but I loved the audio production. The narration flowed smoothly and Kate Reading’s voice was a pleasure to listen to. Her character’s voices were realistic and believable. It was very engaging and I flew through it listening to the entire book in only a few days.

From the publisher’s description I was expecting a book about slavery but this was a story about a young woman’s journey from innocence. Through Honor’s experiences and her letters back home we feel her anguish and uncertainty as immigrant far from home. She was forced to make critical decisions and The Underground Railroad became a focal point for her rather than the focus of the novel.

Source: Review copy.
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Jan 25 2013 6:52 pm

    Thanks for reviewing this one. It was on my list so happy to see you liked it. Our library sytem doesn’t have the audio yet, but I’m sure they will get it.


  2. Suko / Jan 25 2013 8:28 pm

    This one sounds outstanding. Excellent review today, Leslie!


  3. Mary / Jan 25 2013 10:01 pm

    Adding it to my list. Sounds really good!


  4. nrlymrtl / Jan 26 2013 9:28 am

    Sounds like a good read, and I do enjoy Kate Reading as narrator. I have read 1 other Chevalier (burning Bright) and enjoyed it.


  5. stacybuckeye / Jan 26 2013 2:24 pm

    This looks good and I like the Ohio connection. I’ve read 2 books by Chevalier and loved one and liked the other. This looks like a winner.


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