A Plain & Fancy Christmas by Cynthia Keller is a story about two women who were switched at birth. One woman was raised by an Amish family while the other was pampered in an upper West Side apartment. The novel follows the women as they first discover their true origins and navigate their emotions and new families.
Upon first reading the novel, I was struck by the unique way Keller introduces the audience to the characters. The first four pages allow the reader to feel like she is transported from scene to scene and from character to character in a seamless way. The transition felt like the characters passed the reader along from hand-to-hand much like a game. It was a wonderful beginning to the story. Keller’s attention to detail is much appreciated. Her tidbits about Amish culture are woven perfectly in the story. Her research on the Amish is evident and adds an authenticity to scenes that encourage the audience to understand and connect with the culture so admirably portrayed.
In today’s society, there are often news articles that illuminate the switching of babies at birth. A short article never encompasses the true nature of how the individuals feel and how the families cope with the knowledge that their beloved child is not genetically related. I enjoyed reading A Plain & Fancy Christmas, because it provided a way for me to go beyond a simple headline and to imagine how these people reconcile their emotions with new insight. I recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in envisioning how a story develops after two people are mistakenly sent home with the incorrect family.
In exchange for an honest review, I received a free copy from Goodreads.