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The Memory Keeper's Daughter [Paperback]

Kim Edwards
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

26 April 2007

The multi-million copy bestseller, Kim Edwards' The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a moving and poignant novel about grief, family and betrayal.

Families have secrets they hide even from themselves...

It should have been an ordinary birth, the start of an ordinary happy family. But the night Dr David Henry delivers his wife's twins is a night that will haunt five lives for ever.

For though David's son is a healthy boy, his daughter has Down's syndrome. And, in a shocking act of betrayal whose consequences only time will reveal, he tells his wife their daughter died while secretly entrusting her care to a nurse.

As grief quietly tears apart David's family, so a little girl must make her own way in the world as best she can.

'Crafted with language so lovely you have to reread the passages just to be captivated all over again . . . this is simply a beautiful book' Jodi Picoult

'I loved this riveting story with its intricate characters and beautiful language' Sue Monk Kidd, author of the best-selling, The Secret Life of Bees

Kim Edwards is the author of the short-story collection The Secrets of the Fire King, which was an alternate for the 1998 PEN/Hemingway Award, and has won the Whiting Award and the Nelson Algren Award. Her second novel, The Lake of Dreams, is available from Penguin. She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Kentucky.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (26 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141030143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141030142
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Crafted with language so lovely you have to reread the passages just to be captivated all over again . . . this is simply a beautiful book (Jodi Picoult)

I loved this riveting story with its intricate characters and beautiful language (Sue Monk Kidd, author of the best-selling The Secret Life of Bees)

From the Publisher

Kim Edwards's stunning family drama articulates every parent's
silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up
without you? Compulsively readable and deeply moving, 'The Memory Keeper's
Daughter' is an astonishing tale of redemptive love that will touch the
hearts of readers everywhere.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
The Memory Keeper's Daughter starts in the 1960s. It is a stormy night and the doctor's wife has gone into labor. David (the doctor) is forced to deliver his wife's (Norah's) twin babies with only his practice nurse (Caroline) for assistance. The first baby, a boy, is delivered without issues but the baby girl has Down's Syndrome. David's immediate reaction is to protect his wife from what he perceives to be a tragedy, so he gives the baby to Caroline and asks her to take her to a home for the mentally ill. He tells his wife that the baby girl died at birth and that the body has been disposed of.

Caroline goes to follow the doctor's instructions but is unable to get to the home. Instead she makes a spontaneous decision to look after the baby herself, and leaves town. Over the years she raises the girl on her own, keeping in occasional contact with David. Norah remains unaware that her daughter survived the birth and has to deal with her own grief for the baby she lost. David suffers guilt and confusion about whether he made the right decision and his need to keep the secret creates a rift in his marriage to Norah.

I enjoyed reading this book. The central premise is so intriguing that I wanted to see how the story would pan out. The book follows each character in turn over the years as the two children grow up. It's a well written book and the characters held my attention and sympathy throughout. I was very curious to see how the story would be resolved. My main gripe was with the ending, which I felt was a bit lame. I wanted a greater sense of resolution than was delivered. However overall I still liked the book. Other reviewers have complained that it was slow moving and I suppose it is, but I didn't find this a problem when I was reading it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat predictable 23 July 2007
It touches upon controversial issues and challenges certain conceptions. The development of some characters is quite interesting (the unknowing wife for example) however not all characters are engaging or credible. I grew tired of the somewhat naive and one sided statement of the book. It was quite predictable and it fails to really connect the reader to all of the individuals in the plot.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought 20 Sep 2007
I am surprised that this book has received such mixed reviews.
Personally I really enjoyed it, but then it is a subject close to my heart, as my niece has Downs Syndrome.
Set in the 1960's it is quite an eye-opener how views have changed towards such disabilities since then. The fights of those parents for their children's rights are largely responsible for the opportunities available to such children today.

On a snowy winter's evening Nora Henry goes into labour. With the help of a nurse her doctor husband delivers her a healthy son, but there follows an unexpected twin sister who has Downs Syndrome. As was frequently the case at that time, the Downs child, Phoebe, is sent to a home to be cared for. The job of taking her there is entrusted to the nurse, Caroline, who takes one look at the place and decides to care for Phoebe herself.
Meanwhile David Henry makes his big mistake and informs his wife that their daughter was stillborn, setting in motion a chain of events that has repercussions for years to come.

Even though there are reasons in David's past that might explain his response to the birth, it is hard to feel great empathy for him after this event. However, his fascination for photography has interesting symbolism which is explained towards the end of the book.
Caroline and Phoebe made the more enjoyable reading for me, as they struggled to make a life away from Phoebe's home town.
Nora, the bereaved wife, was the least interesting and a rather frustrating character.
The other person in this situation was the brother, Paul, who always felt distant from his distracted parents and who compensated by putting his whole being into his music.

A fascinating book, with plenty of food for thought, though it could have done with being 100 pages shorter.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you've read the blurb, you've read the book! 25 Mar 2009
What a dissapointment! I read the first page of this book and thought it would be a good read. The language was beautiful and the writer clearly has talent but all I wanted to know about was what happened to Phoebe. The chapters about her life were interesting but I would have liked to see more. Norah's life was so boring I didn't care about her, and nothing was resolved whilst David was alive, so what was the point of having them in the book? More could have been made of that side of the plot if David actually met his daughter and Norah found out whilst he was alive. Paul doesn't even get a voice until near the end of the book.
What a shame!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars boring boring boring 29 Dec 2007
When I picked up this book I thought what an interesting subject matter and it was with some excitement that I embarked on the read. the first few chapters set the scene and held my interest, but it was all down hill after that!! the characters had no depth and I didn't feel that I knew them any better at the end of the book than I did at the beginning (what a missed opportunity) the content of the middle section about an affair that Norah embarked on added nothing to the story and could have been completely omitted.I followed the advice of a previous review and skimmed the rest of the book and then read the end. What a waste of time
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Every page is a cliff hanger!
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, couldn't put it down! Has lots of twists and turns so you never know what's going to happen next.
Published 13 days ago by Nix
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read!
A lovely novel. Well written. Made you want to curl up somewhere quiet and be left alone till you could completely finish it. Really enjoyed it.
Published 17 days ago by Margaret C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Memory Keepers Daughter
Believable but very sad story with the father wrecked by guilt for getting rid of his daugher becuase she had Downs Syndrome and the mother his wife living her life unaware the... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Linda
4.0 out of 5 stars The Memory Keeper,s Daughter
A good book to read this is definately a one to buy it depends on what your reading interests are but i liked this book
Published 2 months ago by caz
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
I was disappointed in this book as the description sounded really good especially because I work with people with disabilities. It was boring and slightly predictable.
Published 2 months ago by kleather
4.0 out of 5 stars Memory Keepers daughter.
First of Kim Edwards books for was excellent. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately bought her "Lake of Dreams"
Published 3 months ago by Eileen Manly
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read
A friend recommended this book and I read it on holiday - couldn't put it down. Beautifully written. Highly recommend.
Published 6 months ago by Helen S
5.0 out of 5 stars very moving story
Any one that has children or has lost a child will really get into this book. An easy read but also emotionally charged. Read more
Published 7 months ago by magsduff
4.0 out of 5 stars The Memory Keeper's Daughter
This book views events from 4 points of view which can be at times confusing but also gives you an insight to how complex a situation like this could be. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Bella17
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first novel
I really could not put this book down from start to finish.

It wasn't just the story which kept me hooked, but the writing. Read more
Published 9 months ago by misty
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