Wow! I can’t believe I’ve neglected y’all for a week! I wish I could attribute my lack of blogging to reading, but I’d be lying. So………. let’s jump right, shall we?
When I reviewed Secret Daughter, (Shilpi Somaya Gowda) I hadn’t yet finished it and still was pretty jazzed about both the writing and the subject matter. What I loved most about this book was the raw emotion I found it evoked. As daughter – and in hopes of becoming a mother – this story truly touched on the challenging relationship between parents and their children and on family, in general. So, I’ll start at the beginning.
Kavita, a poor Indian woman living in a small village many miles from city-life, has to make a terribly difficult decision as she’s birthing her second child. If it is a daughter, she will make the long voyage into the city to give her daughter away in hopes of saving her life. Half-way across the world, Somer is a doctor in America who’s put her career (and that of her Indian husband – also a doctor) ahead of family planning. Once ready to become a mother, she finds that she can no longer – ultimately driving the two apart. When Kris convinces her to consider adoption, the story of these two women begin to intertwine and breathe life into the story of a third…Asha, the daughter that Somer adopts.
Over a 20-year period, you come to learn the challenges and successes of each woman. Their curiosities and frustrations, joys and sorrows. Gowda truthfully explores the heartbreak of a marriage tested by infertility and the immense disparity between wealth and poverty. She exposes the rich cultural history if Indian heritage, as well as some of its contradictions. Gowda provides the reader an opportunity to see all sides of parenthood, marriage, family, women’s issues and cultural diversity.
Secret Daughter was a novel that kept me up to all hours of the night, as the writing was beautiful, thoughtful and authentic. I actually cannot believe it was Gowda’s first novel and look forward to her next.
Character Development: A-