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.
Waiting for the adoption to be finalized, she knows her life will change, but is convinced that the love she already feels will overcome all obstacles.
In a braided narrative that unites the stories of Kavita, Somer and Asha, "Secret Daughter" 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.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages, black & white illustrations
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
- Publication Date: 20/05/2011
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780061928352
Showing 1 - 5 of 17 reviews.
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Review by janismack
Nice story, easy to read.
Review by pagei
This book shows what it means to be a family and what adoption is like from all parties involved.
Review by writestuff
Review by ethel55
Gowda has written a very poignant book about motherhood and the various shapes it takes. When two doctors are unable to conceive naturally, Cali girl Somer and her Indian husband Kris decide to adopt a baby from an orphanage is his hometown Bombay (Mumbai). Told in alternating views, the stories of Kavita, the baby's biological Indian mother, Somer, her adoptive mother and Asha herself come to life. The various pictures of the slices of life and time of these people are at times heartwrenching and uplifting. The book touches on many social issues that face India even now, with the overcrowding, slums, birthrate, but still highlights a strong matriarchal figure in Kris' mom Sarla.
Review by Citizenjoyce
The story is put together so perfectly, it's hard to believe this is a first novel. Gowda discusses sexual discrimination, culture clash, infertility, adoption, motherhood, marriage, families, regrets and reconsiderations never sounding gimmicky and always keeping the reader interested in the real people the characters could be. She mentions sexual selective abortions being done in India in a way that fits completely into the story while informing the reader of some of the consequences of India's "valuing some of her children more than others." One quote brought to mind an idea that I hadn't considered before, "Adoption cures childlessness but it doesn't cure infertility". I didn't know why Somer should have had such low self esteem, such inability to trust in her ability to mother, such rejection of her husband's culture because of her anger at him except for the fact that she couldn't forgive herself for her lack of "womanhood." I love the way the various characters wind around each other discovering new things about themselves and each other and each other's culture. This is a very satisfying, interesting even compelling book. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about India, infertility, or family.
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