Bristol port, 1850: Honor and Grace Bright walk up the gangplank to embark on a voyage across the Atlantic, join Grace's fiancé and start a new life in America. One sister runs from heartache, the other craves adventure far from England.
Honor's few possessions on the journey include her signature quilt, a final gift stitched by friends from the Quaker community they have left behind, her patchwork memory of home.
But when tragedy strikes, Honor is forced to continue on alone. In a country that is practical, precarious and unsentimental, she must rely often on the compassion of strangers. As she struggles to find her place and her voice, Honor discovers that Ohio is a land crisscrossed with runaways: slaves escaping north to freedom and settlers venturing west.
Set in the sunlit cornfields and tangled woods of the rural Midwest, Tracy Chevalier's new novel is a vivid story of unlikely friendships, of bad men and strong women, and of the remarkable power of defiance.