The Last Runaway tells the story of a Quaker girl, Honor Bright, who leaves England with her sister for the United States in 1850. Her sister is engaged to marry a Quaker man in Ohio, and Honor accompanies her, but events take an unexpected turn and Honor finds herself alone in a strange, still largely untamed land. As a Quaker, she has a ready-made community to step into, but it’s not entirely the same world she left behind in England. In mid-19th-century America, slavery is the question on everyone’s mind. Quakers are abolitionists, but that doesn’t mean the same thing to every Quaker. To some it means taking an active part in fighting slavery and helping escaped slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. But for others, it simply means that Quakers don’t own slaves themselves; other than that they prefer to keep their heads down, obey the law, and avoid the conflict that comes with actively engaging in abolitionist activities.
Honor finds herself in the middle of this conflict when escaping slaves begin showing up on the property where she lives in need of help. She must decide how involved she is willing to be, and what threat that will pose to her, to those around her, and to her new life in the United States.
This novel provided an interesting glimpse into a time, a place, and a community undergoing challenge and change.