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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Secret Daughter...Review

About the book:
On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl. But in a culture that favors 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 the baby with the gold-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion. 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 the child that binds both of their destinies, Secret Daughter poignantly explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love, as witnessed through the lives of two families one Indian, one American and the child that indelibly connects them.

A poor mother, having already lost an unwanted daughter, can't bear to part with her newborn.  Placing the child in an orphanage is the only way Kavita knows to save her daughter's life, such as it could be.  Somer and Krishnan, unable to have children of their own, make the decision to adopt an Indian child and bring Asha home to America.

The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Somer, Kavita and Asha, with others mixed in.  It's an engrossing novel and one I had difficulty setting aside for anything.  Not having ever traveled to India, I don't know how accurate or inaccurate she is, but I loved the author's descriptions.

I thought she captured the sense of despair of India's poor and the idea that there are two Indias: the rich India and the poor India.  The plight of women and girls in India was also well presented.  I simply cannot understand cultures that place so little value on the life of girls, and yet, in many ways in India, women also wield a great deal of influence.  But, it's the wealthy families who can afford to raise girls, not the poor ones.  Shilpi Somaya Gowda explores this and it's as fascinating as it is tragic.

Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I love the California setting!  With themes of intercultural marriage, intercultural adoption and the relationships between mother and daughter, this is a beautiful, compelling story and one I can easily and wholeheartedly recommend.

I received this book from Harper Collins, won in a giveaway from Laura's Reviews. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 8/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars


  1. I love to read about other cultures, so this sounds like a book I'd love!

  2. Wow, this sounds really interesting. Thanks for the recommendation :)

  3. I loved this book - especially the india part of it. Sommer was not my favorite character but this is one of my favorite books. Great review.