Award-winning writer Kim Edwards's The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a brilliantly crafted family drama that explores every mother's silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you?
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's 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 to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. 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 David Henry's fateful decision that long-ago winter night.
A rich and deeply moving page-turner, The Memory Keeper's Daughter captures the way life takes unexpected turns and how the mysterious ties that hold a family together help us survive the heartache that occurs when long-buried secrets burst into the open. It is an astonishing tale of redemptive love.
THE SNOW STARTED TO FALL SEVERAL HOURS BEFORE HER
labor began. A few flakes first, in the dull gray late-afternoon
sky, and then wind-driven swirls and eddies around the edges of
their wide front porch. He stood by her side at the window,
sharp gusts of snow billow, then swirl and drift to the ground.
All around the neighborhood, lights came on, and the naked
branches of the trees turned white.
After dinner he built a fire, venturing out into the weather for wood he had piled against the garage the previous autumn. The air was bright and cold against his face, and the snow in the driveway was already halfway to his knees. He gathered logs, shaking off their soft white caps and carrying them inside. The kindling in the iron grate caught fire immediately, and he sat for a time on the hearth, cross-legged, adding logs and watching the flames leap, blue-edged and hypnotic. Outside, snow continued to fall quietly through ...
At first glance the heartfelt tale told in The Memory Keeper's Daughter
has little in common with the children's book The Sea of Trolls, also
recommended in this issue, but dig a little deeper and a connection does
In The Memory Keeper's Daughter David Henry sends his daughter away, out of sight, never to be talked of; in the Sea of Trolls Jack must navigate the terrifying world of trolls, changelings and the like. Many scholars believe the European legends of changeling children originated as a way of explaining the birth of children with mental and physical handicaps. In olden times, rather than be burdened with the responsibility for raising a handicapped child the parents could conclude ...
If you liked The Memory Keeper's Daughter, try these:
"Rarely has an author succeeded so splendidly at making real the inexplicable event (here a life-threatening childbirth) while also reminding us of the struggle between sisters, the enchantment of love, and the kindness of others. Do not miss this novel!"
The Memory Palace is a breathtaking literary memoir about the complex meaning of love, truth, and the capacity for forgiveness among family.
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