Harvest House Publishers
Hillary Manton Lodge uses her book, Plain Jayne, to contrast the quaint life of the Amish with fast-paced city life. The main character, Jayne Tate, finds she is conflicted when she begins to appreciate the simplistic world of an Amish family, the Burkholders. Their lifestyle challenges Tate to reconnect with her estranged family and with God. Lodge depicts the Amish life by describing the Burkholders’ everyday chores and conversations. The book is written in first person, seen through the eyes of Tate, an investigative reporter.
At the beginning of the book, Tate’s boss forces her to take a vacation by asserting she is a workaholic. Secretly, Tate uses this vacation to live with an Amish family, in hopes that a possible story will surface. During this time, Tate meets Levi Burkholder, who already left the Amish way of life for a better education and a career. Tate’s attractions for Levi and the Amish culture continue to intensify throughout the book.
The book lacks suspense and forward motion, however, this is to be expected since the author wants to portray the Amish lifestyle accurately. Lodge uses subtle humor effectively, and develops believable characters.
Plain Jayne is characteristic of most Amish fiction. The message of salvation is woven delicately at the end of the book, and value is given toward family bonding and a strong work ethic. The reader gains respect for the Proverbs 31 wife. Personally, I thought the book was too sentimental, but if you are looking for a relaxing, feel-good book, Plain Jayne is the story to read. – Tamara Peachy, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Jayne Tate loves her life as it is—living in a big city, working as a reporter for a fast-paced newspaper, and dating a guy who knows nothing about her past. When her father passes away though, she’s forced to take another look at what she wants out of life. After losing out on the big career opportunity she was hoping for, she decides to escape to Oregon Amish country, seeking solace and maybe a big story.
Even in this land of buggies and bonnets, Jayne finds life more complicated than she expected. Can she persuade herself that her growing friendship with the mysterious and handsome Levi Burkholder is just about research? And what’s a latte-drinking, laptop-using, motorcycle-riding reporter to do when this new life starts to change her?