Thursday, 7 March 2013

new Tracy Chevalier book giveaway!


HarperCollins very kindly sent me a copy of Tracy Chevalier's new novel The Last Runaway.

There were so many elements of this novel that interest me; Quakerism, American history and of course quilting. My maternal grandparents were Quaker and I have been an attender myself, obviously I quilt too, so I was excited to read this book and I wasn't disappointed! I have had to stop myself from writing an essay (I could... there are so many things to discuss about this novel) but here is a quick idea of what the book is about and my review of it.

The story is set in 1850s Ohio during the last days of slavery and follows the protagonist, Honor Bright, as she settles in a Quaker community after travelling from England. 

Honor is a likeable, slightly naive character and it's easy to warm to her. The people she encounters really shape who she becomes and I found myself waiting for some of them to appear again in the story because they were so alluring. 

The structure of The Last Runaway makes for an enjoyable read, with elements of the story covered in letters both to her family and best friend back home, and enough drama to keep a good pace - the kind where you want to read just one more chapter! It is not an obvious tale and there are twists that keep you guessing about everyone's fate. The story isn't overly dramatic though and I appreciated Tracy Chevalier's subtle and unpretentious style.

The intertwining of tales of the slaves, the Underground Railroad and Quaker beliefs was fascinating and the moral/religious/cultural opinions and differences are well construed. As were the smaller details, the styles of quilting and ways of life that varied between the American and English. 

Honor had always preferred patchwork to applique, feeling that to sew pieces of fabric on top of large squares of material was somehow cheating, a shortcut compared to the harder task of piecing together hundreds of bits of fabric, the colours blended so that the whole was graduated and unified and made a pleasing pattern. Though some quilters despaired of the rigid geometry and the accuracy required for making patchwork, to Honor it was a happy challenge. 
- The Last Runaway, Tracy Chevalier

Obviously as a quilter it was so interesting to discover not only the different blocks they would have been making but also the quilting styles. Tracy clearly did a great amount of research for this novel and she even learnt to quilt herself. The characters so well describe the joys and frustrations of quilting. Honor even struggles with making things she doesn't love (we've all been there!). Even the way the notions, quilt designs and quilting history are recounted is enchanting and these were probably some of the parts I loved the most.

Honor sat and opened her sewing box to lay out her things. This ritual, at least, was familiar. The sewing box had belonged to her grandmother, who, when her sight began to fail, handed it on to the best stitcher among her granddaughters. Made of walnut wood, it had a padded needlepoint cover of lilies of the valley in green and yellow and white. This was an image Honor had known from an early age; eyes shut, she could perfectly recreate it in her mind, as she had often done to distract herself during her seasickness.
- The Last Runaway, Tracy Chevalier

It is not often I immediately want to reread a book but that's what I am doing!


What better way to celebrate World Book Day than with a good book and, thanks to HarperCollins, you can win your own copy of The Last Runaway. In fact they are giving away 10 copies to my lucky readers!

**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

To be in with a chance of winning please leave a comment on this post, UK entries only (sorry international peeps).

The winners will be drawn on Monday 11th March by random.org

The Last Runaway will be released on 14th March and I highly recommend it.


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30 comments:

  1. This book looks very interesting, I have read some of her other books and enjoyed them.

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful read, I hope I win!

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  3. Great review - I have my fingers crossed to win but if not I shall add tit to my 'wish list'. I read Girl with a Pearl Earring and enjoyed that so I am sure this is a brilliant read too!!!

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  4. I love this author would be lovely to win a copy of her latest book :) x

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  5. I'd be interested in giving this book a go!

    Quakerism intrigues me and something I've looked into recently. I like their approach on worship- more of a quiet meditation with a chance for anyone to speak to the group if they want to- and they're not out to try and convert people on the doorstep. I think religion has to be a personal thing so if I was to join some kind of religious sect I would be a Quaker.

    Nowadays you don't have to necessarily be religious either, if you're agnostic or spiritual in some sense they welcome you in.

    kerryATpenny-dog.co.uk

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  6. This looks like a good read, and you certainly enjoyed it, thanks for the chance to win it.

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  7. Sounds like I need to take this one to the beach with me on our travels.

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  8. After your great review I have decided that if I don't win your giveaway I will buy it anyway. Reading is my main passion after quilting xx

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  9. Can I win and have the book sent to my mum in England? It sounds amazing!

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  10. That does sound like an interesting read, my degree was in Comparative Religion, and I always find the interaction between, spirituality, and how this is played out in real life really interesting. Good Review, thx Lucy! :)

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  11. I'm a big TC fan so I've been looking forward to her latest book! Our book club read this month was TC's 'Remarkable Creatures' - have you read it??

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  12. This sounds like a fascinating book! I hope I win one but, if not, I think I'll have to buy it :)

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  13. I can't win a copy but I certainly appreciate your detailed and intelligent review. (If you pick my number could I gift it to a UK friend?) I will be looking to buy my own copy here in Australia.

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  14. Sounds intriguing so if I don't win one of the copies, then I'll buy it anyway.

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  15. Sounds like a brilliant book. Love a good read. Thanks for the chance, Lucy.

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  16. Seems like ages since I have read a really good book!

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  17. You have certainly written an interesting book review. I love reading about quilt history and the lives of the makers. I have visited the Quaker Tapestry museum in Kendal UK. It was wonderful to look at the tapestries, and learn about Quaker history. http://www.quaker-tapestry.co.uk/

    So I would feel lucky indeed to win a copy!
    Wendy x

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  18. Oh yes please, I loved the girl with a pearl earring as well. I do love a good read. As for book I reread immediately after finishing, I did that with Stef Penny's " the tenderness of wolves". Just saying.

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  19. would love to read that thanks

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  20. Great review, thanks!
    Love Tracy Chevalier."The Lady and the Unicorn" taught me so much about dyeing, weaving and tapestry arts in 15th century Europe (does that sound dry?! it isn't!)
    Thanks for the chance to win this giveaway!

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  21. I love her books! Sounds like the perfect read1

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  22. I haven't read any of her books, but I'd love to!

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  23. I loved the girl with pearl earring and would be very interested in this new one. Thanks for the review, jennylarking@gmail.com

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  24. Great review! I have been looking for a good read, but I find many books are far too predictable or too hard-hitting. I also like to learn something along the way. This sounds like just what I am looking for.

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  25. That sounds really good. I enjoyed the one she wrote about fossil hunting a lot. Thanks for a great competition.

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  26. Yes please, it sounds like a great read and may well make a good read for the book club I'm in especially as nearly all of us love patchwork and quilting.

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  27. Love a good book, there's no better way to escape (aside from sewing that is) and I love a book that's been recommended. This one sounds great

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  28. Ooh please enter me! My parents converted to Quakerism before they married (though have not been part of the movement for many years) and I too have been an attender. I am fascinated by the how it will link all the themes together.

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  29. Thanks Lucy, this looks really interesting! I really enjoyed the Girl with the Pearl Earring, and one of my good friends is from a Quaker family, I'd love to find out more about it. Might have to get myself a copy if I'm not lucky enough to win!

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