Lost and Found

Marilyn Harris, Author, Betty Prashker, Editor
Marilyn Harris, Author, Betty Prashker, Editor Crown Publishers $20 (438p) ISBN 978-0-517-58333-3
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-345-37462-2
Hardcover - 978-0-517-11677-7
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Harris ( American Eden ) provides interesting social and historical background for what is essentially a fairy tale about a heroine in peril who eventually finds happiness and the key to the mystery in her life. After she is accidentally put on the wrong train in Tulsa, Okla., by her stepbrother, R.C., three-year-old orphaned Belle Drusso seems to vanish, despite all efforts to locate her by her devoted foster mother, Martha. Set during the 1930s Depression and a racially biased America in the '40s and '50s, Belle's misadventures are initially grim. Alighting from the train in California, she endures several months with dogmatic religious fanatics and survives a stint in a carelessly run orphanage. Fortune seems to smile on her in the form of loving Japanese-American foster parents, but with the advent of WW II, they are put into an internment camp. Later Belle witnesses the racial turmoil surrounding school integration in Little Rock, Ark. Meanwhile, guilt- wracked R.C. is obsessed with finding his sister, and he and Martha pool their wits and their savings in a series of futile searches. Harris's undemanding prose, her graphic rendering of a flawed social system cannot overcome the novel's serious flaws: Belle's intense and ultimately cloying sweetness, and the predictability of the plot. (Sept.)
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