Dan Sandman

22: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

In Adventure, Books, Fiction, History on 27/05/2016 at 12:00 pm

The Last Runaway by Tracy ChevalierTracy Chevalier was a reference book editor before she took an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Having not worked in an office since 1993, she has written several successful historical novels. Her second novel Girl with the Pearl Earring (1999), inspired by a Vermeer painting, was adapted for a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson.

The Last Runaway (2013) is set in nineteenth century America before the American Civil War. It is about a young Quaker woman called Honor from England who gets involved in the illegal transportation of slaves. Beset by tragedy early in the novel, Honor is caught between family duty and moral obligation. Patchwork quilts are employed throughout the novel to represent memories and emotions.

Historical novels require much research, and Tracy Chevalier is kind enough to provide us with a list of the books she used to help recreated this difficult period in American history. The language of this lightly entertaining book is full of rich colours, often provided by the bonnets and quilts which Honor encounters. Like so many historical novels, written in essentially a crisp, clean and conservative prose style, it provides a safe window into a troubled past.

An easy book to pick up and enjoy.


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