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Book Beat: The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Book Beat: The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

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By Kim Edwards

This is one of the most captivating premises I've encountered in fiction. It's a snowy night in 1964, and a doctor is forced to deliver his own baby when the OB can't get there in time. With the help of his nurse, he delivers a healthy baby boy, and then - after his wife goes back under the influence of the painkillers, he delivers a girl with down syndrome. They had not known they were expecting twins.

In that moment, the doctor makes a horrible choice. He gives the baby girl to the nurse and tells her to take the baby away to a home for disabled children. When his wife comes to, he tells her they had a second baby, a girl, but unfortunately she died at birth.

Can you imagine? What a plot? Watching the decisions that are made as a result of that initial, frightened, horrifying choice is thrilling. My only criticism, and it's a small one, is that it is hard to keep a 400 page book as charged throughout as it is in that opening scene, but I'm not sure you'd want to anyway. The writing is beautiful, lush and warm. The plot unfolds with beauty, if not a little bit of predictability.

What a surprisingly good read! I thoroughly recommend and will share with my friends this brilliant and moving first novel. The Memory Keepers' Daughter by Kim Edwards. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio, I'm Amanda Dickson.

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