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GATHERING HOME by Vicki Covington (Penguin: $7.95)

January 28, 1990|CHARLES SOLOMON

This very promising first novel also focuses on a search for personal roots: Eighteen-year-old Whitney Gaines, the adopted daughter of a liberal Alabama minister and his wife, decides to find her birth parents. A trail of bureaucratic paperwork leads her to her biological father, a gay cartoonist in Manhattan, and an unexpected legacy of affection. Whitney's search is complicated by her adoptive father's decision to run for Congress in a race that pits his commitment to the Sanctuary Movement against the hard-line conservatism of an opponent from the Moral Majority. Covington avoids the melodramatic cliches of pulp fiction to examine a contemporary definition of the family, a definition based on love, rather than legal ties, that can embrace birth and adoptive parents and grandparents, same-sex lovers and life-long friends

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