The Last Runaway
2013, Penguin Group
Self-Discovery, new friends, and adventures await our main Character in nineteenth-century America.
Chevalier takes the reader on a long trip from England through eastern America and finally to the Ohio Valley where Honor Bright, our main character, matures and learns many valuable lessons about herself and those around her. Honor decides to travel to America to be with her sister as she sails to meet her husband-to-be. The trip is a disaster and Honor must call on her inner strength to get her through. Throughout the book, Chevalier introduces us to several characters that all have different points of view concerning slavery. The setting is in small towns predominantly filled with those of Quaker religious beliefs. The Quakers have to make many decisions that challenge their moral beliefs as they try to survive in this new country. Honor struggles to understand not only her new friends, but also herself. She must reconcile her strong religious beliefs with what she sees happening in her new world. Honor learns of the system in place to help runaway slaves. She decides to participate and gains the fury of her new family. Her young husband tries to care for her but the demands of life on the frontier take up most of his time. The slavery matter becomes second-place when Honor becomes a runaway. She is running from her own consciousness as well as her husband’s family. The story is well written and several issues concerning slavery are introduced. While the plot dances around the underground railway, the sub-plot of inner freedom is even more compelling as we watch Honor Bright mature and make decisions that will affect the lives of others.
Great story about one young woman’s struggle to understand the larger issues of slavery in America.