Thursday, July 28, 2011
'Secret Daughter' by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.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. 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.
First thoughts after finishing this book: " Wow, I loved that ending!!!"
I'm a huge fan of fiction that takes place in India and so when offered the chance to read this story I didn't hesitate to say yes. I'm not sure what happened that made me feel so disconnected to all of the characters in this book but I found myself becoming easily distracted and just not really caring how the story turned out. In fact, I pretty much thought I knew exactly how it would turn out. The writing is wonderful and the author certainly made me feel as if I was in India. I felt such pain for the Indian mothers that had to abort, kill, or give their daughters up for adoption. I'm always amazed at the cruelty towards women that basically seems to permeate throughout the world. But, there was still that problem for me of connecting with a character. It may have been the going back and forth between five different characters...and just feeling like I'm getting into that person's story and then I turn the page and I'm reading about a different person! But I continued on with the story because I was curious as to how it all turned out. And boy am I glad that I did. I thought the last couple of chapters were fantastic and the ending totally changed my reading enjoyment and lifted my rating a full point!
Recommend? Even though I found myself having a hard time finding a connection, I would recommend this to friends because I think the story itself is an important read. I also think the author writes beautifully...and I loved experiencing India through her characters eyes. I would not hesitate to read another book by Shilpi. I honestly feel that the failure to connect to a character is all my fault...sometimes you pick up the right book but just at the wrong time.
Interested in reading "Secret Daughter"? Click here to enter my giveaway. US residents only!
Author: Shilpi Somay Gowda
Published: Paperback version February, 2011
Genre: Family Drama
Source: Review copy from Megan @ Morrow Paperbacks/HarperCollins Publishers
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel
© 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Posted by Staci at 6:00 AM
Labels: Book Review
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I've been wanting to read this one for over a year, but yet it still sits on my shelf:( Glad u enjoyed it StaciReplyDelete
Though I really prefer to connect with a character, this book sounds really good. You've made me curious about the ending!ReplyDelete
I am pretty sure I have shared my story with you (what can I say, I am old... and can't remember everything! LOL!)... so I probably would have a real hard time reading this... I am happy that you liked it though! :L):):):) Ohhhhhhh and PS... in about 10 minutes... I will be begging for votes (details will be on my blog)... I am a finalist in a challenge! YAY!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):)ReplyDelete
Without connecting to characters, a story is hard to get through for me too. I love the premise of this one and the setting as well, but characters are what make a book for me.ReplyDelete
I love books set in India too. Sorry you weren't able to connect with the characters. It still sounds like a book worth reading to me.ReplyDelete
I don't mind alternating characters in chapters, so that wouldn't bother me, and if the writing is engaging, I might connect with a character or two. Sounds like another good book about India. I'd probably enjoy this one a lot. great, honest review.ReplyDelete
I couldn't remember if I entered the giveaway already, so if I entered twice, please disregard the second entry. my bad...I think my memory is worse...lol must be the lack of sleepReplyDelete
You are sure reading around the world lately! Actually, speaking of Mumbai, I just talked to someone (a female) who had been there recently, and had discouraging things to say about the bathrooms, in case you're interested! :--)ReplyDelete
I absolutely loved this one. I am glad it worked out for you in the end. :)ReplyDelete
I am glad to see you enjoyed this in the end. I am amazed as well at how women are treated in other parts of the world. Sadly, animals are treated better. Thanks for the honest review!ReplyDelete
I read this when it first came out and it was pretty good. The overall story was not something I could relate to, but I still found it really interesting and wound up really liking the book.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed this book. I also attended a lecture the author gave here in Montreal and she is a lovely person.ReplyDelete
My mother and sister both read this recently and enjoyed it, too. Now it's at my house and I'm trying to find time to read it ;-)ReplyDelete
I love your thoughts about the end :D That is just how one should feelReplyDelete
Your reaction to the ending has me wanting to read the book. I know what you mean about the right book, the wrong time.ReplyDelete
Interesting review...I'm definitely intrigued!ReplyDelete
Funny that you posted this review on the day I asked you if you'd read this book in the end! Glad you enjoyed it more than I did. I do agree that the ending was good, but like you, I didn't connect with her characters, nor did I particularly like her writing style, as you know!ReplyDelete
Suunds like a good one.ReplyDelete
My sister still has my copy - will have to repossess it at end of Aug. Thanks for the insight and will keep in mind your note.ReplyDelete
I've had this book sitting on my shelf since Christmas, but as good as it sounds I just haven't yet been drawn to read it. Hopefully I'll get to it soon!ReplyDelete
I love the cover of this book! Great review!ReplyDelete
I like stories about adoption. A great ending really can save an average book, can't it? And I sometimes feel bad when I don't connect with a book that I think I should like more. I think it's timing too, more often than not.ReplyDelete
I keep forgetting to mention that I love the "First thoughts after finishing this book:" portion of your review. Years ago (and a couple of times since), I contemplated doing a "one word first thought," but decided the words would become repetitious and meaningless after a while. (i.e.: Wow! Blech. Awesome! Ugh.) But, I love your sentences. :)ReplyDelete