Saturday, 15 October 2011

Book Review: Plain Truth - Jodi Picoult

Synopsis - A shocking murder shatters the picturesque calm of Pennsylvania's Amish country - and tests the heart and soul of the lawyer who steps in to defend the young woman at the centre of the storm...

The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster County to its core.  But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that 18 year old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn's mother, took the child's life.  When Ellie Hathaway, a disillusioned big city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide - and, for the first time in her high profile career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own.  Delving deep inside the world of those who live 'plain', Ellie must find ways to reach Katie on her terms.  And as she unravels a tangled murder case, Ellie also looks within - to confront her own fears and desires when a man from her past comes into her life.

Review - For me this book is one of Picoult's best.  I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult anyway but without a shadow of a doubt, this has to be a favourite.  The author's ability to get inside her characters, to give them such depth and turn them inside out in this way is a rare feature in storytelling.  There are few storytellers with the knack of writing about their main subjects with such intricate detail.  Not only did Ms Picoult get inside her characters but also showed extensive knowledge of the community, lives and beliefs of all her characters.

I felt that I was starting to know Katie Fisher, how scared she was of her circumstances, and I could understand her initial denial and the fear of being shunned.  Yet, just as I thought I 'knew' her, Picoult would give the reader something new which would turn it all on its head.  Also, Ellie Hathaway, the successful defense lawyer -  her character developed, unravelled and grew.  I was not surprised at the ending, I had predicted this and I am sure many readers would have seen it coming but even so, there was some element of surprise.  An excellent book. 5*

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