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Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge

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Review of Plain Jayne

The Advocate

Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge

Reviewed by Rel Mollet

"[Hillary Manton Lodge has] written a unique, witty and beautiful story marked with vivid characters, genuine emotions and sensitive insight into Amish life."

Jayne Tate, talented and successful newspaper reporter, is shocked to learn her editor is not calling her into his office to send her on a highly anticipated assignment but ordering her to have some time off work to adjust to the recent death of her father. Given her father barely acknowledged her during his lifetime, Jayne feels little compunction to spend time thinking about him after his death.

In the hope of discovering a story even while on enforced leave, Jayne heads into Amish country, unaware her life is about to be thrown into chaos by the peace loving life of Plain folk.

Amish fiction has never really been my cup of tea, but the premise of this story piqued my interest. I wondered, without too much hope, if this debut author could sustain my interest in a genre often marked by predictable story lines and stereotypes. I'm delighted to say that Hillary Manton Lodge has defied my expectations and written a unique, witty and beautiful story marked with vivid characters, genuine emotions and sensitive insight into Amish life.

Hillary exposes the Amish life from many perspectives in this novel with Jayne, the outsider, Levi, living with the consequences of following his faith and Sara, struggling to choose her path in life. Each character sheds light and shade on both the romanticised and realistic versions of Amish living in a captivating story of family, romance and spiritual belief. The interplay Jayne has with her dysfunctional family, her patient boyfriend Shane and the intriguing Levi Burkholder, adds emotional complexity and substance to this well written story. Plain Jayne's appeal is not limited to lovers of Amish fiction and I, for one, will be lining up for Hillary's next novel, Amish or otherwise.

Rel MolletRel Mollet is a lawyer, wife and mother of three young daughters and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Reading has been her passion since childhood. She is a Book Club Co-ordinator and has her own website ~ relzreviewz ~ dedicated to reviews and author interviews with the sole aim to support authors writing from a Christian worldview. She believes Sir Francis Bacon's (1561 - 1626) creed, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body".