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Secret Daughter Paperback – Mar 1 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st Edition edition (March 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061974307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061974304
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4.2 out of 5 stars
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Lydia - Novel Escapes TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 17 2010
Format: Paperback
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nina on March 9 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a first novelist I'm impressed with the tapestry built around the main characters as their stories unfold and intertwine throughout two continents. A beautifully written story on personal and cultural identity.A great personal and book club read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steffy on July 31 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book was a great read. It had everything in it, excitement, twists, love, horror, despair, I could go on but you get it. The other reviews listed hit the mark for sure.

This is a well written story about a desperate mother who would go to any lengths to save her daughter in a culture where men control.
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54 of 64 people found the following review helpful By P. Field on May 16 2010
Format: Paperback
The story synopsis for "Secret Daughter" immediately captured my attention, and I eagerly bought this book looking forward to a satisfying read.

The begining was riveting and sucked me completely into the tale. But, as it progressed I found the author's back and forth jumping between characters very annoying. This writing technique can be successful, but the reader is just settling back into one of the characters lives when Gowder finishes that snippet and switches again - sometimes a character has only 2 pages!

Shilpi Somaya Gowda writes well (I think this is her first book), and the story is a good one which needs telling, but personally I would have enjoyed the book more if she had stayed with each character longer and given us more depth before switching to another part of the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Samantha TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 29 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to like this book. I have a fondness for novels of India, but Secret Daughter has too many agendas, some of which are overindulged. The fact that Indians have more than a strong preference for boys is not a secret, nor is it just an Indian phenomenon. That adopted children often feel abandoned despite loving adoptive parents is almost cliche. The story of a child adopted to a different country/culture by an interracial couple is interesting and pertinent today; unfortunately, that story gets lost in all the other stuff, some of which seems completely random (e.g. entire chapters are spent on grandparents' deaths, who we, the readers, don't know or care about, and it reveals nothing about the other characters). When each chapter's heading includes the place, date and character name, it is not surprising that the writing is journalistic, flat. No nuance or subtlety. There is very little character development except for the biological mother but she gets lost in the second half of the book when the daughter is grown. While the daughter gets a lot of page time, she is more of a device to expose the problems in India than a fully fleshed out character. Unsatisfactory. I found myself wanting to finish this book quickly. Unfortunately, the ending was not worth my slogging.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amy Hayashi on March 12 2011
Format: Paperback
I read this book for my book club. I found the book to have some interesting aspects about both biological and adoptive mothers' experiences of losing/adopting a daughter. What was intriguing to me was the part about Somer's insecurity of being a mother to her daughter from a different cultural background. However, even though the novel touches on interesting topics about international adoption and learning a new culture, the characters are not well developed. This left me feeling that the author had made assumptions characters that she created, I wished she had spent time exploring depths to their characters. Overall, I think it was a nice effort for the first novel but the results were rather uneven.
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