The Last runaway by Tracy ChevalierAugust 19th, 2015
Detail from "Slavery TimeSome rights reserved
A serious and sensitive story from the author of The Girl with a pearl earring!
Honor Bright is a resourceful Quaker girl but is not quite prepared for what follows when she sets sail for America. Her sister dies on arrival from yellow fever and Honor is left to fend for herself. She finds solace in the work and friendship offered to her by milliner owner, Belle Mills.
Later on she moves on to Faithwell where she marries Jack Haymaker with hopes of settling down. However this is where her story really begins when she encounters a runaway slave.
The Underground Railroad is active in Ohio and The Fugitive Slave Act has just been passed. Honor is determined to help one and break the other and doing so gets into a moral dilemma with her husband’s family.
The story and the descriptions of life in the 1850s by Chevalier are so well realised that the reader is quickly transported to another time and place. The letters sent to and fro provide valuable insight into Honor’s thoughts and those of her family and friends back in England.
I love the way author Tracy Chevalier develops Honor’s character which grows in strength and awareness as the book explores moral duty, relationships and responsibility. A must read if ‘slavery’ is a topic being studied.
Image: Detail from Slavery Time by elycefeliz on Flickr