The basics: Secret Daughter is the story of Somer, a white California doctor; Somer's husband Krishnan, who grew up in India and is also a doctor; Kavita, a married woman in India whose husband believes they can only afford one child and it must be a boy; and Asha, the young Indian girl Kavita gives up for adoption and always wonders about and Somer and Krishnan adopt.
My thoughts: I began reading Secret Daughter with high expectations, and from the opening pages, I was mesmerized by the characters and stories. The novel moved through time and effortlessly shifted between narrators. I was simultaneously eager to catch up with each character and reluctant for the chapter to end. I loved following the stories of these characters who did not know their own connections to each other. I'm a huge fan of novels dealing that are stories of lives and how events shape us.
Secret Daughter is about family and cultural identity, but Gowda blended the themes with the story beautifully. I would stop short of calling it an epic, but it does have hints of it. There were truths sprinkled throughout:
"At some point, the family you create is more important than the one you're born into."Gowda wrote well, but I rarely found myself writing down passages. It's a novel I'll think of fondly because of its structure and story more than its language. It's a testament to the characters Gowda created that I eagerly turned the pages to see what would happen to each of them.
Favorite passage: "Sometimes, as she has well learned in life, one's actions must precede the emotions one hopes to feel."
The verdict: Secret Daughter was unputdownable for me. I loved the pacing, story and characters. It's a novel that will stay with me for a long time and one I wholeheartedly recommend.
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5 stars)
Length: 368 pages
Publication date: March 9, 2010 (it's in paperback now)
Source: I received a copy from the publisher via TLC Book Tours
entire tour schedule.
You can find out more about Shilpi Somaya Gowda on her website. She is also on Twitter and Facebook.
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