On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl. But in a culture that favors sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter's life is to give her away. It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son.
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 she and her husband, Krishnan, see a photo of the baby with the gold-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion. Somer knows life will change with the adoption but is convinced that the love they already feel will overcome all obstacles.
Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and the child that binds both of their destinies, Secret Daughter poignantly explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love, as witnessed through the lives of two families - one Indian, one American - and the child that indelibly connects them.
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"First novelist Gowda offers especially vivid descriptions of the contrasts and contradictions of modern India. ... Rife with themes that lend themselves to discussion, such as cultural identity, adoption, and women's roles, this will appeal to the book club crowd." - Library Journal
"[A] lightweight fable of family division and reconciliation, gaining intensity and depth from the author's sharp social observations." - Kirkus Reviews
"Gowdas subject matter is compelling, but the shifting points of view weaken the story." - Publishers Weekly
"Gowda has masterfully portrayed two families... linked by a powerful, painful tie that complicates their lives... A thought-provoking examination of the challenges of being a woman in America and in India -- and in the psychological spaces in between." - Chitra Divakaruni, author of The Palace of Illusions
"The Secret Daughter is a deeply moving and timeless story of an adopted daughter's long distance search for cultural identity and acceptance; first with the mother who raised her, and ultimately with the mother who gave her up." - Kathleen Kent, author of The Heretic's Daughter
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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. A native of Canada, she has lived in New York, North Carolina, and California. She now lives in Dallas with her husband and children. This is her first novel.
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