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Wings of a Dove


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Barbieri ( Tarnished Angel ) builds this handkerchief-wringer around the ``orphan train,'' the mid-19th-century venture by New York churchmen to resettle homeless children with Midwestern families. The author milks pathos from every detail: the pale, scrawny orphan girl befriended by the wily street urchin determined to start over; the children's coincidentally shared attachment to a medal of the Virgin Mary; an adoptive mother's lingering illness and death; camaraderie that blossoms into love, then withers under a painful misunderstanding. There's little tension and even less authentic emotion. Barbieri's manipulations culminate in a cheap surprise ending that gives her book the feel of a trick played on characters and reader alike. (Jan.)

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