The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards

Oh yes, another one of Richard and Judy’s Summer Read Selections! And what’s more, another cracker! I can see why it’s a “multi-million-copy US No.1 Bestseller” as the book cover describes it. Despite the slightly girly-looking cover design, I really think this is a book men can enjoy too – hardly a chick-lit title, it goes much deeper than that.

I adored this book from the beginning. As the characters David Henry and his wife Norah are introduced, I really saw them. Kim Edwards’ descriptions, and the images she builds, are amazing. The love Dr Henry feels for his pregnant wife seems to pour out of the pages and into the reader, it really touched my heart. Then as the story unfolds, you can truly feel the pain and confusion the characters are going through.

For when his wife gives birth, Dr Henry delivers two children. One, a perfectly healthy boy. The second, a little girl, who has Down’s Syndrome. On spotting the characteristics of a Down’s baby, Dr Henry’s world falls apart. He lost his own sister when he was young, and it shaped him forever. Truly believing he would be protecting the rest of his family from heartache, he hands the baby girl to the nurse helping him deliver the children. A move that he regrets for the rest of his life.

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is the tale of how the twins, Paul and Pheobe, grow up never knowing each other, and yet, how there is something missing from their lives. They are brought up in separate families, and as they get older, things only get more difficult for both families as there are choices to be made. There is heartache and regret galore in this novel as David Henry comes to realise just what he’s done to so many people after making one rash decision that he thought was for the best.

I won’t say too much more because I want you to read it! This seriously is a beautiful book, about two special children that should have been together forever, and yet were kept apart for the first twenty-five years of their lives, through no fault of their own. A totally amazing book because of the issues it addresses, and the fact it is raising awareness of the real trials and tribulations that families with Down’s babies face. An emotional rollercoaster of a book. I was riveted, and you will be too.

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