Tuesday, May 13, 2014


HarperCollins Publishers|October 16, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-192231-2

In a tiny hut in rural India, Kavita gives birth to Asha. Unable to afford the "luxury" of raising a daughter, her husband forces, Kavita to give the baby up-a decision that will haunt them both for the rest of their lives.

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 her husband, Krishnan shows her a photo of baby Asha sent to him from a Mumbai orphanage, she falls instantly in love. As she waited for the adoption to be finalized, she knew her life would change. But she was convinced that the love she already felt would overcome all obstacles.

In a braided narrative that unites the stories of, Kavita, Somer, and Asha, SECRET DAUGHTER, the debut novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, and belonging. As the story moves between the two families, one struggling to eke out an existence in Mumbai, the other grappling with the challenge of raising a brownskinned child from another culture, Gowda poignantly parses issues of culture, identity and familial loyalty.

I fell in love with this book right from the beginning and absolutely adored, Kavita. She was such a strong, caring, and compassionate woman who never let a day go by without thinking of Asha. Kavita wanted so much to keep her but being a "girl" her husband said "no" so, Kavita had no choice but to put her up for adoption. A few years later, her husband, Jasu was also sorry he was so quick to make up his mind and dispose of Asha a 3 days old.

I read this book late into the night until I'd finished as I was so caught up emotionally in the story that I just couldn't, in good conscience, close the pages on these families until I knew what had happened to them all. A highly recommended read. I'll definitely be looking forward to more of Ms. Gowda's work in the future.

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