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Secret Daughter: A Novel

A book by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

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  • Mar 27, 2010
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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 a child of their own would never become a reality. When Krishnan suggests adopting a child from his native India, Somer is a first resistant....but eventually the two make plans to do exactly that, and adopt a little girl from an Indian orphanage.

An amazing story and peek into a country that many know little about. The author's tales moves between two worlds and two Indias; the reader sees the lives of the Indian villagers whose very livelihood depends on their ability to harvest their crops, feed their families, and the choices that come about as a result of that. There is the affluent India of servants and jewels and extravagant weddings......and then there is the United States, to where Krishnan has emigrated, Somer is from, and the two adopt and take their baby girl. It is a story that confronts the very definition of family; it is not to be missed.


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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 . May 20, 2010
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 …
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Dana Y Bowles ()
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Member Since: Sep 28, 2010
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About this book


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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