Every once in a while I want to read something other than chick lit and am always thrilled when I randomly pick up something wonderful. This novel wasn't recommended to us by anyone, rather, I liked the premise of the story, loved the cover and discovered while reading it that I loved the book as well! This beautiful story hooked me from the beginning and I've thought about long since finishing. It would make a wonderful Mother's Day gift for any of you stumped on what to get your book-loving moms.
In a remote village in India, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl, but living in a culture that favours boys, she is forced to give her up in order to save her life. Meanwhile, an American doctor, Somer, has found out she cannot bear children and she and her husband make the decision to adopt a child from his native country. They fall in love with the beautiful girl in the photo with the gold flecked eyes and bring her to America to raise, while Kavita's thoughts for the daughter she had to give away never diminish. Told from multiple perspectives and alternating between the two families and the daughter that binds them, this story weaves a rich tapestry of a mothers love regardless of circumstance.
There were multiple directions I thought this book might take and it didn't even stray close to any of them, so the lack of predictability was nice, so much so that I found myself feeling lost for a brief time in the 2nd half of the book, unsure where it was headed, but that only lasted a short time. This read wasn't the roller coaster ride I was expecting it to be, but much more subtle and when I came to the end and realized why things were happening the way they were, I was mesmerized by how powerful the story ended up being without my even realizing it.
This is a beautifully written novel with just enough description to be able to picture the setting without being overwhelmed with detail and the contrast between - the Two India's - was richly portrayed. The emotion of the characters was palpable and the Indian terms sprinkled throughout gave it a feeling of authenticity. They didn't intrude on the story however and I only noticed the glossary when I was almost finished the book, but never felt I needed it. Shilpi Somaya Gowda's writing is powerful, her prose beautiful, and the end result an emotional read as evidenced by my tears during the final chapters of this novel.
Secret Daughter is a powerful and thought provoking story about love, family, identity, hope, and above all else, a mother's love. Buy this for your mother for Mother's Day. It is truly the most powerful book about mothers I have ever read.