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Synopsis

A luminous novel that both questions and celebrates the miraculous 'fresh and brilliant ... the sort of book that keeps on unfolding in the imagination, long after you've finished reading it.' Gabrielle Lord 'It is strange and fascinating to me to think of people - Avila in particular - praying me into existence.' Nineteen-year-old Sydney Peony Kent was a longed-for IVF baby. Her mother, Avila, not only used science to conceive, but also prayed to the Bambinello, a small bejewelled carving of the infant Jesus, housed in the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli in Rome. Avila's distant relative Father Roland Bruccoli was conceived conventionally. His mother also prayed to the Bambinello before his birth - and that of his twin sister. One evening when the adult Roland is visits the church, the Bambinello is stolen. Roland hopes that Father Cosimo, archivist, poet and riddler, can help retrieve it. But when matters of belief are involved, nothing is straightforward, as Sydney discovers, too, when she is caught up in the search. Deftly weaving together religion, science, pregnancies wanted and unwanted, love, loss and belief, Carmel Bird has created a luminous novel that both questions and celebrates the miraculous. 'Given her due, Carmel Bird would be recognised as one of Australia's finest storytellers and connoisseurs of story' Peter Pierce, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD 'Bird's prose stylr delights in coincidences and conundrums, in the playful and dangerous blend of fact and fiction' Dorothy Johnston, CANBERRA TIMES

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