About Plain Jayne
Jayne Tate is an investigative reporter for a major daily. When her editor demands she take time off to grieve the death of her father and get her writing back up to par, Jayne instead follows her instincts. She's certain there's a story to uncover about the Amish, but where to start?
An initial interview with the intriguing owner of an Amish furniture store opens the door for Jayne to live with the Amish family he left behind. What she doesn't yet know is that her journalistic observations of this sincere, yet conflicted family are destined to cause reflections of her own childhood.
I really enjoyed this debut novel by Hillary Manton Lodge. I really identify with Jane, at least her sarcasm and self-deprecating thoughts! Plain Jayne isn't plain at all! It's absolutely hysterical. This will end up being on my favorite books list for 2010.
Jayne has left her job as a reporter for an extended, forced vacation after her father dies. Being the great reporter that she is, she's not willing to let this free time go to waste. She knows there must be a story out there and she gets connected with the Amish. How could they live the way they do? Are their lives as perfect as they make it seem? Jayne is ready to find out!
What Jayne isn't prepared for is enjoying the life that the Amish lead. The people that she meets welcome her into their lives and it gives her an entirely new view on her own life. Maybe trying to restore some family relationships are in order. Speaking of relationships, what is it that she wants in the one she has with Shane?
Her experience with the Martha & Gideon's family is pretty amusing at times. Amish boys sneak to a girl's window when they're courting. Not so much in the big city of Jayne's and her reaction to a guy "breaking into the house" is pretty funny.
Some of the best banter is between Jayne and Martha & Gideon's oldest son, Levi, who has been shunned by the family for leaving the Amish way. Here's a short example of them going back and forth when Levi is trying to get Jayne to use a power tool:
Jayne, "What if I suddenly spaz out toward the moving blade? How would you stop that?"
"Why would you?"
"Do you have a history of seizures?"
I straightened. "Not yet. I might"
"You might develop a history of seizures?"
"You never know."
Somehow that seems like a conversation I could have with someone! Man, I love Hillary's writing. If an author can make me laugh out loud, they have a lifetime reader. Hillary has me! Some of my other reviews on my site have to deal with cleaning and my incredible dislike of it. Well, it seems as if Jayne and I were cut from the same cloth. The Amish are extremely particular about their homes being clean. I can NOT relate! Can you relate to Jayne?
The dinner dishes were washed and put away into locations they had only ever dreamed of. After that, she swept the floor with a broom I didn't know I had before proceeding to hand wash the floor on her hands and knees. She use paper towels because I didn't own rags, a fact that completely amazed her.
I was completely amazed that I had a broom, so we were even.
That is somewhat the tone of Plain Jayne. There is definitely a serious side to the novel, especially when it comes to Jayne's family and her feeling of falling completely short of their expectations.
I'd love to give this book away, to share the talent of this new author, but I just can't do it! Sorry. I know my daughters will absolutely LOVE it! Now to sit back and wait for book 2!!
About the Author
Hillary Manton Lodge writes witty stories about normal people learning to live, laugh, heal, and understand the concept of God in a crazy world. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and works as a freelance photographer while chasing her passion for writing fiction. She and her husband live in Oregon. You can find Hillary here: http://www.hillarymantonlodge.com/ and http://hillaryonwriting.blogspot.com/
I'd like thank Rebeca at Glass Road Public Relations for my review copy of Plain Jayne. This review is my own experience with the book.