Potentially fascinating story of how two infants were switched at birth that's maimed by poor organization and choppy characterization and narration. On December 9, 1978, Schwartz-Nobel (Engaged to Murder, 1987, etc.) tells us, Barbara Mays, daughter of a prominent donor to Hardee Memorial Hospital in Sebring, Florida, gave birth at the hospital to baby Kimberly, born with a deformed heart. Three days later, Regina Twigg, a 35-year-old mother of six and the wife of an Amtrak maintenance man, arrived at the hospital, where she delivered baby Arlena. Shortly thereafter, an upset Regina insisted that the baby returned to her from the nursery wasn't hers: Arlena was blond and pink, while this child was dusky-hued and blue around the lips. Convinced by doctors that misidentification was impossible, the Twiggs returned home with the child, who needed constant medical care. Meanwhile, Barbara Mays died of cancer when her child was two, and Bob Mays remarried—and, evidence indicates, began to abuse his daughter. Years later, at age nine, Arlena Twigg died during heart surgery. Just before her death, though, Regina Twigg took a blood test that indicated that she couldn't have given birth to the girl now known as Arlena. Further investigation implicated hospital doctors and nurses in a baby-switch, perhaps motivated by pressure from above to please Barbara Mays's powerful father. Today, despite several law suits, Kimberly remains with Bob Mays. All this makes for a promisingly melodramatic scenario, but Schwartz-Nobel leaps all over the place in short, checkered chapters: We're with the Twiggs during genetic testing; then we jump into teenaged Regina Twiggs's voice chattering on about a reunion with her sisters; then we flash forward to the end of Bob Mays's second marriage—and all this in 20 pages. Strong story but a confusing execution that's best suited for double-acrostic fans.
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