Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult ©2000 Pocket

Amish girl kills her newborn. Ellie Hathaway is the lawyer who has to get the girl off a murder charge. The girl, Katie, denies ever having been pregnant. Was it an immaculate conception? The work of Katie’s dead sister’s ghost? Or is Kaite, un-Amishly, simply lying?

Nice clash of cultures story between the “plain” Amish and the worldly “English.” The supernatural overtones quickly fell away. Katie did have the baby. But did she murder it? Will she confess to the crime unnecessarily because of Amish humility? Ellie is in as tough a spot as Katie, who is not the most helpful client. Lawyer/client conflict kept the story interesting despite weak legal details, like Katie being released without bond as long as Ellie lives with Katie in Amish country. A convenient, implausible way to set up fish-out-of-water scenes. And Picoult had the Amish bend or ignore their “principles” to help the plot along. I do applaud the author for ending the criminal case realistically.

I wish the dead sister’s ghost had figured more into Katie’s character. It was a nice, keep-you-guessing element Picoult dropped about half way. I felt Ellie’s love story wasn’t that necessary, distracting from the more unusual, therefore more interesting, conflicts between Katie and Ellie.

Plain kept me intrigued almost all the way through, until it became rather obvious what happened to the baby. Then, I just flipped pages until it was confirmed. Overall, though, I enjoyed the characters and, assuming Picoult did her research, learning about life among the Amish. Plain Truth was worth the read and is worthy of my permanent bookshelf.

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