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Secret Daughter: A Novel

A book by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

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Definitely one of the best books I've read this year

  • May 20, 2010
Rating:
+5
Shilpi Somaya Gowda's first book is excellent. I'm already looking forward to her second.

Her writing is rich and descriptive and beautiful -- yet not overly flowery at all.

SECRET DAUGHTER is a lovely story that takes us to two countries -- U.S. (San Francisco) and India -- and spans 25 years. We meet Kavita and Jasu who are living in a small Indian village. Girl babies are expensive (their dowries later) and can't help with the farming, so they are highly undesirable. When Kavita has her 2nd daughter, she is determined to save her by taking her to the orphanage.

Somer and Krishna are two doctors -- he an emigrant from India from a fairly well-to-do family, and her a white blonde only child who has been surrounded with love and support. When they have trouble conceiving, Krishna's mom sends them information about adoption from India.

I loved this book. The characters were mostly likable and definitely real. The story is told from the POV of the women in the story. Along with them, we explore the changes that a marriage goes through with age and stress, and the difficulties and joys of raising children. Because the whole book follows two families over such a long period of time, the surface is barely scratched, and yet, the reader completely understands.

The story moved me, and the characters will be with me for a long long time.

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More Secret Daughter: A Novel reviews
review by . January 17, 2011
SECRET DAUGHTER tells two heartbreaking stories, worlds apart but inseparably linked. The first is about infertility in North American woman and the extreme lengths that some hopeful mothers- and fathers-to-be will take to achieve the elusive goal of parenthood. The second graphically illustrates the demeaning treatment of women and girls in India combined with the overpowering social pressure that Indian women feel to bear sons. A common beginning breaks into two tales and then finds common ground …
Quick Tip by . January 17, 2011
An extraordinary debut novel from a Canadian author that tells the heartbreaking story of Usha, rescued by her mother from certain death at the hands of her father for no reason other than not being the son he so desperately wanted, and adopted by a childless couple in California.
review by . March 27, 2010
When Somer and Krishnan meet and marry while after medical school in San Francisco, their future looks bright. They are in love, and they are both destined for successful medical careers. When they make the decision to start a family, everything seems to be falling into place for the couple. When the miscarriages begin, the relationship between the young couple becomes strained; and when Somer's physician confirms that she is actually premenopausal, it becomes very clear that their plans of having …
About the reviewer
Jennifer Donovan ()
Ranked #269
   I am a freelance writer, contributing to Patch.com and 5minutesformom.com and managing 5minutesforbooks.com.      I absolutely love books. I love to learn from books, … more
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Wiki

On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to Usha. But in a culture that favours sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter's life is to give her away. It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son. Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. When she and her husband Krishnan see a photo of baby Asha from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion for her. Somer knows life will change with the adoption, but is convinced that the love they already feel will overcome all obstacles. Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and Asha, "Secret Daughter" poignantly explores issues of culture and belonging. Moving between two worlds and two families, one struggling to survive in the fetid slums of Mumbai, the other grappling to forge a cohesive family despite their diverging cultural identities, this powerful debut novel marks the arrival of a fresh talent poised for great success.
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ISBN-10: 0061974307
ISBN-13: 978-0061974304
Publisher: HarperCollins

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