Truly Plaice does not fit the stereotype of a heroine. Unlike her angelic sister, Serena Jane, she is slow, clumsy and big. Not just big – enormous. And not a jolly sort of enormous, but a freak show ugly kind of enormous. She also is dense, and somewhat dull. She shrugs off taunts and insults, and refuses to rail against the perversity of a God who would give her blonde, beautiful sister so much and herself so little, or blame her troubles on her father when he rejects her. She simply accepts what happens to her and who she is.
Yet even though Truly is slow, she is not stupid. Vicious actions hurt her. Being the butt of so many jokes causes her to retreat into her own world. Still, she possesses a questioning mind and a dogged determination. Being one of Aberdeen’s outcasts, she is able to view the town and its people with an eye unbiased by expectations of prestige or entitlement, which allows her to uncover a secret that has been part of Aberdeen’s history for generations, and raises a moral dilemma that threatens to engulf her world.
Anyone who has ever been subjected to ridicule or malicious jokes due to physical shortcomings, whether excessive weight, bad acne, buck teeth or an unfortunate birthmark, will recognize themselves in Truly. She is the heroine that lives deep in the heart of even the most modest of us.