Somer’s life is everything sheimagined it would be—she’s newly married and has started her career as a physician in SanFrancisco—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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s powerful novel is a wrenching, cathartic read. Secret Daughter revolves around Asha, a baby placed in a Mumbai orphanage by her birth mother, who fears her abusive husband will kill the child. At the age of one, Asha is brought to America by an affluent couple unable to conceive. Twenty years later, she returns to India to uncover her heritage. Gowda tells the stories of Asha’s birth family and adoptive parents with empathy and emotional depth, resisting easy heroes-and-villains moralizing on both sides. It’s an ultimately uplifting tale about the choices that shape us.
Gowda's debut novel opens in a small Indian village with a young woman giving birth to a baby girl. The father intends to kill the baby (the fate of her sister born before her) but the mother, Kavita, has her spirited away to a Mumbai orphanage. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Somer, a doctor who can't bear children, is persuaded by her Indian husband, Krishnan, to adopt a child from India. Somer reluctantly agrees and they go to India where they coincidentally adopt Kavita's daughter, Asha. Somer is overwhelmed by the unfamiliar country and concerned that the child will only bond with her husband because "Asha and Krishnan will look alike, they will have their ancestry in common." Kavita, still mourning her baby girl, gives birth to a son. Asha grows up in California, feeling isolated from her heritage until at college she finds a way to visit her birth country. Gowda's subject matter is compelling, but the shifting points of view weaken the story.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I just finished this book. It was extremely captivating. Loved the details of this family, their culture and of love beyond borders
The Secret Daughter
I read this book in less than 2 days, I couldn't put it down. It is so beautifully written, it made me cry at times.A must be read book.