Dr David Henry's wife, Norah, goes into labour with their first child on a bitterly cold winters evening in 1964 and he is forced to deliver the child in his surgery. The child, a boy named Paul, arrives safely and is perfect. Within moments of Paul's birth it becomes apparent to David that Norah is giving birth to a twin.
Before Norah is introduced to the twin David immediately detects that the twin, Phoebe, is born with Down Syndrome. Instantly recalling the impact of his owns sisters death on his mother, and not wanting Norah to go through the same pain, he decides that Phoebe should be placed in a institution. This decision effects his life and the lives of those around him.
David hands Phoebe over to Caroline, the nurse attending the birth, and requests that she carry out his wishes. But when Caroline arrives at the institution and surveys the conditions she makes the decision to raise Phoebe herself and give her the life that any child should be entitled too.
Norah never gets to meet her daughter and David, thinking he is saving Norah a lifetime of pain, tells her that their daughter was born stillborn.
I immediately felt a connection with this book as I have a younger sister with Down Syndrome. Luckily, that's as far as the similarities go between my life and the lives of the characters in the book.
I was really engrossed in this book and in the lives of the characters, although at times I felt a little overwhelmed by the senitment.
This book makes you look at how your actions ultimately result in positive or negative consequences, whether you realise it or not.
Other themes that Kim Edwards touches on throughout the book are: family secrets, grief, the healing power of love and redemption.
A moving story with a topic that will make for some interesting discussions.
I rate this book 4 stars