Friday, March 12, 2010

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Book flap description: 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.

I loved this book.  The story offers fascinating characters, especially those of the two mothers involved in the adoption and it's aftermath.  There were characters that I started off hating, and ended up really understanding and feeling compassion for.  I also found that the author brought readers to different parts of the society of India in a readable way that is sometimes hard to find.

I would suggest this book to anyone who wants to try something about the culture and history if India.  Like Thrity Umrigar, Shilpi Somaya Gowda captures it beautifully.  I would rate this a 5/5.


Literary Feline said...

This is going on my wish list right away! Thanks for your great review, Christine.

SG said...

Hello Christine,

Thanks for taking the time to read Secret Daughter and write such a thoughtful review on your blog. I look forward to reading more of your reviews!

Shilpi Somaya Gowda