Last Friday evening I attended a great event at The Art Quilt Gallery, Manhattan where I work; Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With A Pearl Earring was giving a talk about her latest novel The Last Runaway.
I first read this book on the recommendation of Lucy @Charm About You, she grabbed my interest when she posted about the book and a letter she had received from Tracy. No further prompting necessary as I've been a fan of Tracy's work since reading GWAPE back in February 2000. Still living in England at that time, we had an American house guest staying for a week and she said I could read her copy of the book as long as I returned it to her before she left - I had no problem obliging and, not able to put it down, read it overnight.
The Last Runaway was no different, I didn't read it overnight though, I savoured it over 4 nights, eagerly anticipating retiring to my bed to read more and finally sitting up into the very early hours of the fifth night as I couldn't wait any longer to discover the main character Honor Bright's fate.
To very briefly sum up the book, it is the story of the life of an English woman who moves to live in America, she loves to quilt and she cuts fabric in a store - sound familiar? When I spoke with Tracy I did jokingly say I felt the book was written about me, there are similarities still today with Honor Bright's experiences as an immigrant in the 1850s and my own here in NYC!
In researching the book Tracy decided to learn to hand quilt, she joined a quilting group and still meets with them in London on Monday evenings. Below is an image of Tracy's first quilt, made while researching and writing 'The Last Runaway'. She didn't bring this quilt along to the evening, it was too heavy to carry over to America, but she did print out this image of it - head over to Lucy's blog to see a photo of the quilt for real.
Tracy shared with us her latest WIP, she's been bitten by the quilting bug (haven't we all?!) and loves to sew after a day of working with words. She's yet to try machine quilting - she's nervous she'll stitch through her fingers :)
I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Tracy talk, she read us two passages from 'The Last Runaway', one when a character is saved by a quilt and another section acknowledging the differences between English and American quilting at that time. I was captivated at hearing the book in Tracy's voice - she was incredibly interesting and a absolute delight. I'm pleased to hear that quilting will play a part (though much smaller) in her next novel too!
Obviously, I took along my copy of 'The Last Runaway' for Tracy to sign:
For Chrissie D -
Very best wishes from a fellow quilter
Oh and there's a couple more photos of me chatting with Tracy over on the store's facebook page - I think they were taken when Tracy was recommending another book to me, Domestic Manners of the Americans an 1832 travel book by the English novelist Frances Trollope about her travels around America. I've ordered a copy and I'm eagerly anticipating reading it when it arrives!
For details of other fabric, yarn, trim and notion stores that I've visited around the world along with the NYC stores I love, exhibitions and events I've attended and wonderful people I've been lucky to meet click the links below or in my sidebar :D
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