The disintegration of Dr David Henry's family makes for compulsive reading as his decision to give away his Down's syndrome daughter at birth has devastating consequences. If you relish the combination of tension and tears, this one's for you.
The baby's hand brushed his, and he started. Without volition he began to move through the familiar patterns. He cut the cord and checked her heart, her lungs. All the time he was thinking of the snow, the silver car floating into a ditch, the deep quiet of this empty clinic. Later, when he considered this night - and he would think of it often, in the months and years to come: the turning point of his life, the moments around which everything else would always gather - what he remembered was the silence in the room and the snow falling steadily outside. The silence was so deep and encompassing that he felt himself floating to a new height, some point above this room and then beyond, where he was one with the snow and where this scene in the room was something unfolding in a different life, a life at which he was a random spectator like a scene glimpsed through a warmly lit window while walking on a darkened street. That was what he would remember, that feeling of endless space. The doctor in the ditch, and the lights of his own house burning far away.
'All right. Clean her up, please,' he said, releasing the slight weight of the infant into the nurse's arms. 'But keep her in the other room. I don't want my wife to know. Not right away.'
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell