Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Secret DaughterOne terrible night in 1984, Kavita walks with her newborn daughter to an orphanage in Mumbai. Leaving her daughter at the orphanage is heartbreaking for her, but she knows if she doesn’t, her husband will take the daughter and kill her, as he had a former girl born to them. He claims they need a son to help in the fields and they can only afford to raise one child.

As Kavita is facing devastating loss, so too is Somer, a doctor in California who finds out she will never have children with her husband Krishnan, who is from India. Knowing there are many orphaned children in his home town of Mumbai, Krishnan and Somer decide to adopt. And so begins the story of Asha, given up to fate by one mother and embraced by another.

As Asha grows up with her loving parents in California, she can never shake a desire to know more about her birth family. When Asha turns 20, she has her chance. She’s won a fellowship to document children living in poverty in India, allowing her a year to both get to know her father’s family and discover who she really is. Secretly, she hopes she can find her birth parents while she is there.

Shilpi Somaya Gowda has brought us an intricately woven tale of families who are connected by birth, chance, and love. The reader sees through these richly developed characters the importance of family and the various forms family can take. Though called Secret Daughter, this spellbinding novel is one about mothers who form the ballasts of family life, and carry the quiet strength that allows love to bloom.

William Morrow/HarperCollins; ISBN 978-0-192835-2; $13.99.
Secret Daughter: Book Clubs

Return to Book Club Choices