Kim Edwards's The Memory Keeper's Daughter (2005) follows the lives of Dr. David Henry, his wife, Norah, and their twin children who are secretly separated at birth. The story begins in March 1964 when an unexpected blizzard hits the small Kentucky town where the young couple lives. Norah is pregnant. Norah's labor catches them off guard, and David, who is an orthopedic surgeon, is forced to deliver the baby. Another surprise is in store for David and Norah when not one but two babies are born. They were not expecting twins.
The first baby is a healthy boy. But when the second baby emerges, a girl, David notices the telltale signs of Down Syndrome. David panics. Having been raised with a sibling with a diseased heart, David does not want his wife to go through the burdens his mother experienced in raising a chronically ill child. David thinks a Down Syndrome child will have a weak heart and will die prematurely. He tells his nurse, Caroline Gill, to take the baby girl to an institution outside of town and leave the baby there. When his wife awakens after the delivery, David tells her that the baby girl has died.
David’s deception will have lifelong repercussions. The secret that David must keep from his wife and son makes him withdraw from his family. Further complications arise when Caroline, David's nurse, does not feel right in leaving the baby girl at the decrepit institution and instead takes her home with her. She christens the child “Phoebe.” Later Caroline moves out of town and starts a whole new life, determined to raise Phoebe as her own.
David's family buckles under the strain of the supposed death of the infant and the unknown truths that surrounds it. Norah feels David has locked himself up in a self-imposed solitary confinement. Paul, David's son, feels that his father does not love him. Norah seeks out lovers to fill the emptiness of her contaminated marriage. Paul loses himself in his music. Caroline, in the meantime, fights for Phoebe's rights to a proper education and an independent life. The story ends with a semi-climatic meeting between the brother and sister twins, thus bringing the story full circle.