A dead premature baby is found hidden in the barn of the Fishers, an Amish family. Eighteen-year-old Katie claims to remember nothing of the birth or her pregnancy, though medical evidence establishes that she is the mother, and circumstantial evidence indicates that she is the likely killer.
Ellie Hathaway, a successful lawyer, is questioning her role as a defense attorney. She believes she has used her skill to allow criminals to evade justice, in the interests of furthering her own career. Ellie has recently become desperate to have a child of her own but has split up with her long-term boyfriend. She is persuaded to defend Katie, and because of the bail conditions imposed finds herself sharing the life of the Fisher family.
As the story unrolls, Picoult examines different value systems, ideas of justice and family relationships. One thing I like about her books is that the choices the characters make are difficult, and the line between good and evil is not entirely clear.