It's been a while since I enjoyed a book as thoroughly as I did Tracy Chevalier's The Last Runaway.
I'm a big fan of the author, and I definitely wasn't disappointed reading this book either. (Most folks probably know her as the author of The Girl With the Pearl Earring, but she has a lot of other books out there well worth checking out.) The story follows Honor Bright, an English Quaker who heads to Ohio with her sister, who is to be married, in 1850. Along the way, Honor's sister dies and she's thrown into a strange and new world in 19th century American on the frontier. The story follows her as she makes her way amongst the strangers in the Quaker community she's landed in, as well as her relationships with some of the non-Quakers in the two neighboring towns.
Chevalier deftly weaves a story of the Quakers on the frontier in Ohio with the Underground Railroad and runaway slaves, 19th century agriculture and oh yes! QUILTS! This is not a book with a lot of action and adventure a la superheros. Instead, it's the tale of quiet strength of a young woman, who has to decide what things in life are important to her and to make a stand for herself in a new country. The character of Honor slowly comes to grow on the reader - which I think is mostly the point. She is not showy, not outspoken - a plain person trying to make the best of an unsettled and uncertain situation at a turning point in her life. But you come to admire her for who she is by the end of the book. While there are a few twists and turns (especially the last chapter with her friend, Belle, a local milliner, and Belle's brother, who happens to be the local slave-catcher, and which I will not ruin for you), there's nothing sensationalistic about this story. It's just plain old good writing.
The descriptions of Honor's sewing and quilts are an added bonus (for those of us who love such things). :)
A highly recommended read!
All for now.....