"Secret Daughter: A Novel," by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

"Secret Daughter: A Novel," by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Somer's life is everything she imagined it would be — she's newly married and has started her career as a physician in San Francisco — until she makes the devastating discovery she never will be able to have children.

The same year in India, a poor mother makes the heartbreaking choice to save her newborn daughter's life by giving her away. It is a decision that will haunt Kavita for the rest of her life, and cause a ripple effect that travels across the world and back again.

Asha, adopted out of a Mumbai orphanage, is the child that binds the destinies of these two women. We follow both families, invisibly connected until Asha's journey of self-discovery leads her back to India.

Compulsively readable and deeply touching, SECRET DAUGHTER is a story of the unforeseen ways in which our choices and families affect our lives, and the indelible power of love in all its many forms.

Be warned once you start this book you won't want to put it down, it hooks you right away.  It's a story that you will remember for a long, long time.  My favourite part of the book was when  Ahsa goes to India to work.  The way the author describes everyday life is compelling and so real you can imagine the sounds and smells there.

You feel empathy for both Somer and Kavita as both the adoptive and birth mother.  Kavita especially shows great strength with what she went through.  The book also shows how a hard life women and children can have in India and what a wide gap there is with how much some people have and how little the majority have.  It shows how "valuable" a male baby is over a female baby, and what some people will do when a female baby is born.  The sad thing is things often don't work out as planned and you will read about this in the book.

Stars out of 5 : 5 A super book, well worth the read.  Makes me want to go to India even more now despite the heat and the food; neither which I like.  The Foreign Terms Glossary at the back of the book is a big help.  I was a little surprised at the ending re: Asha and her birth parents.  If you have time do read this book, you will not be disappointed.

P.S. A lot of the names in the book are names of people who I know in real life, so the story felt familiar even though it is a fictional story.


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