Secret Daughter (by Shilpi Somaya Gowda: Fiction) c. 2010

Summary: Born to a poor farming family in the Indian countryside near Mumbai, Asha’s mother knows that her newborn baby girl will be seen as an unwanted drain on the family. Rather than watch her daughter be killed, she takes her to an orphanage. In America, doctors Krishnan and Somer are desperate to have a child, but cannot. They adopt Asha, and the fates of the two families become intertwined.

Review: This is by no means a perfect novel; the writing often feels a bit awkward, and the travails of Somer and Krishnan don’t come across as genuine. That said, Asha’s struggles are heartbreakingly real and the descriptions of Mumbai are lovingly rendered, and more than enough to carry the novel. Not perfect, but a touching and beautiful debut novel.

Read-a-likes: Fans of the Mumbai setting should take a look at the books of Thrity Umrigar. Those intrigued by the struggles of adoption and adoptive children should consider Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by C.J. Box or Somebody Else’s Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage.

Availability: This item is available from the Lake Bluff Public Library as a book and an eBook. Click here to check on the status!

Review by Eric.


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