Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge – My Review

Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2010)
I’m a bit behind the game on finishing this book and apologize in advance. I am in the midst of reading it and will update this post with a more thorough review soon. In the meantime look for other blog tour posts from bloggers hosting Hillary’s book today.

I love Amish fiction and so far Lodge is in the running for a top spot on my reading lists. Not only does she bring the Amish characters to life through the pages of her narrative, but she throws an Englischer into the mix who just happens to be an investigative reporter pretending to follow her boss’s orders to take a much needed vacation after her father passes away and the exceptional qualities of her work have slipped significantly in the aftermath. She can take a “vacation” but those PI instincts can’t be buried. Needless to say she has her nose to the ground searching out a story to freelance in the midst of Amish Country right here in the Pacific Northwest. Will Jayne succeed at finding a story that lives up to her reputation among the peaceful, pastoral community of Amish nestled south of Oregon’s capital – Salem. Yes amazingly enough Salem is the seat of our government yet not nearly the size of our one major metro area, Portland. Salem and its environs carry a huge rural population much like the outlying towns and neighborhoods of Portland. In fact at some points I suspect the areas beyond the “suburbs” overlap quite extensively for these two areas.

I suppose I should get back to the book itself. While Jayne grew up at the Coast and now lives in Portland, somehow the Amish life seems attractive and a place she can pretend to follow orders for a rest from her hectic life as a city reporter covering key stories for a major newspaper for her home state. What is it that so intrigues her and draws her out to the isolated rural community with such strict standards that argue against the pace and society which she has known all her life. Can an Englischer so immersed in contemporary society and technology survive in this community where connections to the outside are limited at best even with modern conveniences available in the Englisch areas surrounding the Amish homes and farms? Even I have yet to find out how her so-called vacation and clandestine snooping for a story turn out. I suspect there will prove to be some sort of secret or mystery more involved that presents itself as the story progresses and so far Lodge’s writing style strikes me as the perfect vehicle for a mystery type story with the added draw of an Englischer being in a fish out of water circumstance amongst the Amish. Jayne isn’t the only one who needs a break from “life” as she knows it. There are other characters in this story that have chosen a life juxtaposed to the community they were raised in. In making her trip to this fictional Amish settlement near Albany, Jayne expects a very different outcome from what she gets and a few pleasant surprises including new hobbies and a desire to keep house in a more organized manner. To find out about the rest of the twists and turns Lodge built into her narrative you’ll have to read it yourself.

(ISBN#9780736926980, 300pp, $13.99)

Click bookcover above or here for more information about this book. Visit the author’s website. Check out other blogger’s thoughts from today’s tour. Thanks to Glass Road Public Relations for a review copy of this book.


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