book review: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Secret Daughter: A NovelThe backstory: Swapna convinced me to read this one with her glowing review.

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

Want more opinions? Check out the entire tour schedule.

You can find out more about Shilpi Somaya Gowda on her website. She is also on Twitter and Facebook.

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Secret Daughter from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon in paperback (it's also available for the Kindle.)

As an affiliate, I receive a very, very small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. I do want to read this one. Everyone seems so excited about it; thanks 4 sharing.

  2. It sounds like this was a great read for you, and coupled with Swapna's review, I think it's one that deserves a place on the wish list. Thanks for you enticing and interesting review!

  3. Hmmm, sometimes you just need a good story to read about. I'll definitely keep this in mind!

  4. Thank you for this fab review!

    Hope you can stop by the blog and say Hi!

  5. I have read so many glowing review of this one now I can't wait to read it for myself at some point!

  6. Wow, you went into it with high expectations and still rated it a 5?! That's really saying something. I'm thrilled that it met (exceeded?) your expectations.

    Thanks so much for being on the tour.

  7. I'm yet to hear anyone not recommending this book. I so want to read this - it sounds truly amazing!

  8. And now your review has convinced me to put this on my wish list :)
    This really sounds wonderful, and "unputdownable" is always what I'm looking for.

  9. Great review. I have heard of this book before, but it never got my full attention. Sounds like an interesting book and different than what I usually read.

  10. Sounds marvelous -- I love the premise. Def added it to my TBR.

  11. I loved this book and still think about the characters. I agree with your "unputdownable" assessment!

  12. This book sounds so lovely! I've read a lot about it and it's high up on my to-read list. Thanks for the recommendation!


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