Review: Chevalier's latest novel disappoints
(AP) - "The Last Runaway" (Dutton), by Tracy Chevalier
Tracy Chevalier's "Girl With a Pearl Earring," which brought Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer to life, has become a near-classic in contemporary historical fiction. And her latest novel, "The Last Runaway," takes on similarly fascinating and little-known subject matter- the Quakers' role in the Underground Railroad during the mid-1800s.
Heroine Honor Bright leaves England for America, settles in Ohio and becomes intimately involved in the movement- helping runaway slaves reach freedom. Sounds great, right? But despite this compelling fictional backdrop, Chevalier's storytelling just doesn't do it justice.
Bright, despite her name, is anything but. Her character is flat and dull and spends much of her time longing for home, harshly judging her new American friends and family and talking about how she really shouldn't be complaining about it. This criticism seems all the more confusing when we learn that Chevalier intended her latest novel as her "love letter home." (She's made her home in England for nearly 30 years.) The rest of the characters are similarly unsympathetic and undeveloped.
And the quilting. Clearly, the discussion of quilting- the patterns, the styles, the methods- is intended as a motif to carry the reader seamlessly through the story. Instead, it feels obvious, annoying and overdone.
That said, it's a quick read as Chevalier's writing is solid and compelling. "The Last Runaway" remains a page turner as readers are anxiously waiting for something to happen. But when things do happen, the action seems trite and well-trodden.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Arizona Diamondbacks place Cody Ross on 15-day DL
- Dose of Venom: Miguel Cabrera showcases MVP talent as Tigers squeak past Diamondbacks
- Detroit Tigers fend off Arizona Diamondbacks: By The Numbers
- Diamondbacks' Kirk Gibson: 'We did the best we could' with Brandon McCarthy
- Dose of Venom: Collmenter, Peralta use 'the force' to help secure D-backs sweep of Cubs
- Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs first baseman - Friday July 18Paul Goldschmidt talks about the All-Star Game and his expectations for the season's second half.
- Our Guy Harry - Thursday July 17Our Guy Harry joins Dan and Vince in studio.
- Derrick Hall, D-backs president & CEO - Thursday July 17Derrick Hall on Paul Goldschmidt's leadership abilities and the future of Brad Ziegler.
- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN MLB insider - Wednesday July 16ESPN MLB insider Tim Kurkjian discusses Derek Jeter’s impact on the MLB.
- Bickley Blast - Wednesday July 16Did Adam Wainwright intentionally give Derek Jeter a pitch to hit in Tuesday night's All-Star Game?
- Tony La Russa, D-backs Chief Baseball Officer - Wednesday July 16D-backs CBO Tony La Russa talks about Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
- Bickley Blast - Tuesday July 15Is Major League Baseball dying?