Review: Secret Daughter A Novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Secret Daughter A Novel
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. As she waited for adoption to be finalised, she knew her life would change. But she was convinced that the love she already felt would overcome all obstacles. In a braided narrative that unites the stories of Kavita, Somer and Asha, Secret Daughter, the debut novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss and belonging. As the story moves between the two families, one struggling to eke out an existence in Mumbai, the other grappling with the challenge of raising a child from another culture, Gowda poignantly parses issues of culture, identity and familial loyalty.
Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Shilpi Somaya Gowda was born and raised in Toronto to parents who migrated there from Mumbai. She holds an MBA from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1991, she spent a summer as a volunteer in an Indian orphanage, which seeded the idea for her first novel, Secret Daughter. A native of Canada, she has lived in New York, North Carolina, and Texas. She currently makes her home in California with her husband and children.
This is one for the book clubs! You can't read this book without feeling the need to talk about it. This book takes you on an amazing journey and provokes a reaction. It explores the extremes that exist within India and the stark differences that exist between eastern and western cultures. It examines love and fear in different contexts: as a parent, as a spouse, as a child. And delivers many powerful messages about people's motivations, vulnabilities and sense of duty.