A #1 New York Times bestseller by Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a brilliantly crafted novel of parallel lives, familial secrets, and the redemptive power of love
Kim Edwards’s stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964 in Lexington, Kentucky, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century—in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that winter night long ago.
A family drama, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter explores every mother's silent fear: What would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? It is also an astonishing tale of love and how the mysterious ties that hold a family together help us survive the heartache that occurs when long-buried secrets are finally uncovered.
Edwards's assured but schematic debut novel (after her collection, The Secrets of a Fire King) hinges on the birth of fraternal twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down syndrome, resulting in the father's disavowal of his newborn daughter. A snowstorm immobilizes Lexington, Ky., in 1964, and when young Norah Henry goes into labor, her husband, orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Henry, must deliver their babies himself, aided only by a nurse. Seeing his daughter's handicap, he instructs the nurse, Caroline Gill, to take her to a home and later tells Norah, who was drugged during labor, that their son Paul's twin died at birth. Instead of institutionalizing Phoebe, Caroline absconds with her to Pittsburgh. David's deception becomes the defining moment of the main characters' lives, and Phoebe's absence corrodes her birth family's core over the course of the next 25 years. David's undetected lie warps his marriage; he grapples with guilt; Norah mourns her lost child; and Paul not only deals with his parents' icy relationship but with his own yearnings for his sister as well. Though the impact of Phoebe's loss makes sense, Edwards's redundant handling of the trope robs it of credibility. This neatly structured story is a little too moist with compassion.
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Sophomoric & overwritten
Sophomoric & overwritten , plus every character & every event is detailed to death. The 1-star rating is for the one character that was interesting. The rest aren’t even likable or relatable. I honestly can’t believe the editors allowed this book to be put into print. It’s by far, one of the worst I’ve ever wasted my time on. Skip it!!
Time will tell
This was an emotional story about life and the rippling affect choices make on the lives of others. Although I did not agree with the choice of the father, I can understand it. I have 3 children, two of which have developmental delays. The days are wonderful and hard at the same time. When my daughter is old enough to have children I wonder if she will have parallelizing fear of having her own children or if she will be able to accept fate knowing there is a strong possibility her child could have the same challenges. Time will tell.
A riveting and unexpected story that intertwines the realities of choices made that cannot be unmade. Consequences of one man’s choice that affected the lives of many, lived out over a quarter century.