“The small town of Paradise, Pennsylvania, is a jewel in Lancaster County – known for its picture-postcard landscapes and bucolic lifestyle. But that peace is shattered by the discovery of a dead infant in the barn of an Amish farmer. A police investigation quickly leads to two startling disclosures: the newborn’s mother is an unmarried Amish woman, eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher. And the infant did not die of natural causes. Although Katie denies the medical proof that she gave birth to the child, circumstantial evidence leads to her arrest for the murder of her baby.
One hundred miles away, Philadelphia defense attorney Ellie Hathaway has achieved an enviable, high-profile career. But her latest court victory has set the sands shifting beneath her. Single at thirty-nine and unsatisfied with her relationship, Ellie doesn’t look back when she turns down her chance to make partner and takes off for an open-ended stay at her great-aunt’s home in Paradise. Fate brings her to Katie Fisher. Suddenly, Ellie sees the chance to defend a client who truly needs her, not just one who can afford her.
But taking on this case challenges Ellie in more ways than one. She finds herself not only in a clash of wills with a client who does not want to be defended but also in a clash of cultures with a people whose channels of justice are markedly different from her own. Immersing herself in Katie Fisher’s life – and in a world founded on faith, humility, duty, and honesty – Ellie begins to understand the pressures and sacrifices of those who to live plain. As she peels away the layers of fact and fantasy, Ellie calls on an old friend for guidance. Now, just as this man from Ellie’s past reenters her life, she must uncover the truth about a complex case, a tragic loss, the bonds of love – and her own deepest fears and desires.” – Goodreads
I have thought about how I wanted to start this review and to be honest I am still at a loss. This book is literally about a newborn’s death and the Amish community…but yet it is so much more than that. I know what you are thinking… I know, how disturbing and what do the Amish have to do with this? To find out, read the excellent book.
When I read the synopsis of this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I just honestly couldn’t see myself enjoying a book that was so focused on the Amish community. I have nothing against them, but I just wasn’t sure how they really fit into the type of story that Jodi Picoult typically writes. You guys, she did it again.
I don’t even know why I second guess Picoult at this point, she always delivers. Much like Lisa Scottoline, she takes really tough topics and writes a beautiful, elegant story. And just like Scottoline, it is evident that Picoult does extensive research that really can make or break a story.
This story was beautifully woven between the plain lifestyle (Amish) and modern society. You are immersed in the plain lifestyle when defense attorney Ellie Hathaway has to stay with Katie Fisher and her family. She learns how to milk cows, butcher chickens, quilt, etc… but she also learns about the morals of plain living. Not only is the story beautiful, but at times frustrating. You feel the tension between Ellie and Katie between the pages, but also the growing compassion.
Woven between tension and compassion is a whole lot of suspense. I’m typically a thriller/suspense reader. Almost to a fault sometimes. It was such a nice change of pace to read something that had enough suspense to keep me interested, yet compassion and tenderness.
I don’t know how Jodi Picoult does it, but she always leaves me speechless and wanting more.
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