read online Audiobooks Secret DaughterAuthor Shilpi Somaya Gowda – Andy-palmer.co.uk

Secret Daughter Somer s life is everything she imagined it would be she s newly married and has started her career as a physician in San Francisco until she makes the devastating discovery she never will be able to have childrenThe same year in India, a poor mother makes the heartbreaking choice to save her newborn daughter s life by giving her away It is a decision that will haunt Kavita for the rest of her life, and cause a ripple effect that travels across the world and back againAsha, adopted out of a Mumbai orphanage, is the child that binds the destinies of these two women We follow both families, invisibly connected until Asha s journey of self discovery leads her back to IndiaCompulsively readable and deeply touching, SECRET DAUGHTER is a story of the unforeseen ways in which our choices and families affect our lives, and the indelible power of love in all its many forms


About the Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Shilpi Somaya Gowda was born and raised in Toronto, Canada In college, she spent a summer as a volunteer in an Indian orphanage, which seeded the idea for her first novel, Secret Daughter, published in 2010 It was a New York Times and 1 international bestseller, and was translated into over 30 languages Secret Daughter was shortlisted for the South African Boeke Literary Prize, longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, was an IndieNext Great Read, a Target Book Club Pick, a ChaptersIndigo Heather s Pick, and an Amnesty International Book Club Pick.Her second novel, The Golden Son, was published in 2015 16 around the world, was a 1 international bestseller, a Target Book Club Pick, a Costco Buyer s Pick, and was awarded the French literary prize, Prix des Lyceens Folio Her first two novels have sold over two million copies worldwide, and her third novel, The Shape of Family, will be published in October 2019 in Canada and March 2020 in the U.S Shilpi holds an MBA from Stanford University, and a Bachelor s Degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Cain scholar She has served on the Advisory Board of the Children s Defense Fund, and is a Patron of Childhaven International, the organization for which she volunteered in India She lives in California with her husband and children.



10 thoughts on “Secret Daughter

  1. says:

    Meh Not a bad story, but too superficially rendered for my taste.Kavita, a poor village woman, has just given birth to an infant daughter she names Usha Terrified that her husband will murder the daughter because she s a girl, she journeys to Mumbai to place Usha in an orphanage Meanwhile, Somer and Krishnan, a California couple struggling with infertility, decide to adopt an Indian orphan and end up with Usha The book follows the twists and turns in these characters lives as Kavita and her Meh Not a bad story, but too superficially rendered for my taste.Kavita, a poor village woman, has just given birth to an infant daughter she names Usha Terrified that her husband will murder the daughter because she s a girl, she journeys to Mumbai to place Usha in an orphanage Meanwhile, Somer and Krishnan, a California couple struggling with infertility, decide to adopt an Indian orphan and end up with Usha The book follows the twists and turns in these characters lives as Kavita and her family experience changes of location and fortune and Somer and Krishnan raise Usha whom they call Asha who eventually seeks her roots in India.There were moments in this book which resonated and smacked of psychological complexity Somer initially finds it difficult to bond with her new infant Kavita comes to appreciate her husband despite his flaws Kavita s husband eventually regrets and examines his zealousness to get rid of his infant daughter But for the most part, the story was told in a way that seemed almost rushed as it spanned two decades I didn t feel that I got to know any of the characters the vicissitudes in their relationships and fortunes passed me by without my getting caught up in them Where I often find myself complaining about the slow pacing in books, this was a case where the rapidity with which events unfolded precluded my feeling anything about them.It wasn t a bad book, but the fact that it could have been so much better than it was made for a disappointing reading experience Not to mention the high goodreads rating ands placing it on a list of 100 Best Books of 2010


  2. says:

    SPOILERSThis novel proudly boasts a 1 Canadian Bestseller sticker I personally can t understand why.In 1984, an Indian woman named Kavita gives birth to a baby girl Fearful that her husband, Jasu, will dispose of this baby the same way he did to their first daughter, Kavita and her sister deliver this baby to an orphanage in Bombay, but tell Jasu that the baby died in the night A year later Somer and Krishnan Thakker, an American Indian couple, adopt the baby and bring her home to California SPOILERSThis novel proudly boasts a 1 Canadian Bestseller sticker I personally can t understand why.In 1984, an Indian woman named Kavita gives birth to a baby girl Fearful that her husband, Jasu, will dispose of this baby the same way he did to their first daughter, Kavita and her sister deliver this baby to an orphanage in Bombay, but tell Jasu that the baby died in the night A year later Somer and Krishnan Thakker, an American Indian couple, adopt the baby and bring her home to California Kavita mourns for her secret daughter even while raising her third child, the long awaited son, and while learning to accept her husband for who he is The baby, named Asha, grows up to be a promising journalist, and wins an internship with a major newspaper in India, so she travels to her country of birth for the first time and lives with her father s family, who are strangers to her She of course seeks out her birth parents, but she never meets them face to face, finally coming to accept that her adopted family has given her everything she needs This book should have been a powerful and emotional read True, it sheds light on the complexities of family, as well as the terrible living conditions that many Indians suffer However, any child growing up in twenty first century North America should be somewhat aware of the devastating contrast between living in India and living in North America Asha isn t Though her adoptive mother s surpression of her daughter s Indian heritage can be blamed for some of her ignorance, this young woman is a budding journalist Should she not have some global awareness of international issues, especially those that relate to the country in which she works It is hard to be patient with her as she slowly matures through the time she spends in India When she finally comes around, it almost feels too late.I felt the same frustration with Somer The character is instantly unlikeable, ignorant and dismissive of her husband s heritage Any sympathy the reader feels for her struggles with infertility are instantly erased when she arrives in Indian and labels the men disgusting pigs Perhaps it is because I read this book immediately after reading THE LOST GIRLS, in which the authors are open minded to every type of person they encounter, but I could not tolerate Somer s prejudice She, like her daughter, experiences an epiphany in the error of her ways, but she is in her mid fifties at this point, after almost thirty years married to an Indian man It is much too late.I could go on about my thoughts on the other characters, but I don t want to drag this out Besides, every reader should form his or her unbiased opinion I unfortunately found every character two dimensional and unrealistic something I did not expect in a novel which receives such high praise and has such an intriguing plot


  3. says:

    Such a beautiful story Kavita and Jasu are a poor but loving couple living in the rural town of Dhanau, India In a society that favors boys and considers girls as a burden, Kavita has to give up her daughter to an orphanage, to protect her life Meanwhile another couple from America, Somer and Krishnan can t have a baby and decide to adopt, connecting the lives of these two very different couples separated by thousand of miles And thus begins this really touching tale of their lives and the Such a beautiful story Kavita and Jasu are a poor but loving couple living in the rural town of Dhanau, India In a society that favors boys and considers girls as a burden, Kavita has to give up her daughter to an orphanage, to protect her life Meanwhile another couple from America, Somer and Krishnan can t have a baby and decide to adopt, connecting the lives of these two very different couples separated by thousand of miles And thus begins this really touching tale of their lives and the daughter who binds them There are numerous things that could have gone wrong with this story It could have turned out into one of those Bollywood family movies, filled with melodrama and tears and an over sweetened happily ever after Or it could have got really preachy and irritating But somehow, the author created a beautiful balance between all the factors to give us this amazing story.What I really loved about this book was that every character was allowed to present its point of view Jasu wasn t made out to be this really evil villain, free of any kind of remorse for the mistake he committed The society, the mindset, which views girls as a burden, was well portrayed India was neither glorified nor overly ridiculed In fact, the author has painted a very true picture of this country Truly, it is a land of many contradictions.The story also has one of the best ending I have read recently view spoiler Somer discovering herself before reconciling with her family, Asha understanding the sacrifices her mother made for her, and Kavita and Jasu discovering their love for each other It just couldn t have been better hide spoiler How beautifully she wrapped up the whole story It really gave you closure, and that nice giddy feeling you get after reading a nice book I remember smiling for a very long time after finishing it Truly amazing Can t wait to read other books the author writes after such a stunning debut 5 sparkling stars and highly recommended, especially for Jhumpa Lahiri fans D


  4. says:

    This is a story that beautifully and creatively tackles many controversial issues Between Somer and Krishnan, we have an interracial marriage Issue one Krishnan, an Indian man and Somer, a caucasian woman, think nothing of the difference in their cultures until a trip to India shows Somer the world from which Krishnan comes from She does a double take and wonders how well she really knows her husband Issue two motherhood Somer wants to have a baby so bad but her body does not agree with This is a story that beautifully and creatively tackles many controversial issues Between Somer and Krishnan, we have an interracial marriage Issue one Krishnan, an Indian man and Somer, a caucasian woman, think nothing of the difference in their cultures until a trip to India shows Somer the world from which Krishnan comes from She does a double take and wonders how well she really knows her husband Issue two motherhood Somer wants to have a baby so bad but her body does not agree with her After adopting a little girl, Asha from India, she begins to wonder if some women just aren t meant for motherhood Can she do this Can she love and understand a child that does not come from her own womb Issue three is foreign adoption Asha grows up questioning her parentage What is her homeland like Who are her real parents When reading her parts, readers witness the daily inner turnmoil an adopted child faces, the feeling of being unwanted, the questions, the being stuck between two cultures Where do I belong Issue four and possibly the biggest issue of all is the practice of killing young baby daughters in India The poor do not want daughters because they can t work in the fields and require a dowry later in life How many tiny, unmarked graves are scattered throughout India Also addressed is the Indian caste system While watching Asha grow up in America with all the spoils of American children, readers all see what is going on in the other side of the world with Asha s biological parents as they stuggle to make a life in Bombay, to rise above oppression and try and try again to step up a class or two Will making ends meet be enough Thru their eyes, we see the slums of India, the drugs, the gangs When a grown Asha heads to India for a year, she has many questions and no answers Will she leave India with answers and if so, will they be the answers she wants Will she find her biological parents or will all these people go thru their lives without meeting An even stronger question is Can either mother let go A beautiful story closely following the lives of four very different people I found myself thinking of these people even when I wasn t reading the book I especially enjoyed the in depth look at life in India It beats watching an espisode of Taboo anyday Highly recommended


  5. says:

    There s been a lot of buzz about this book but I found it to be an airport paperback tarted up as literature In India a poor woman hands her daughter over to an orphanage rather then risk her being killed as daughters aren t valued In America, a physician and her India born doctor husband decide to adopt a daughter the abandoned girl when attempts to conceive a child fail The author bounces back and forth between the two mothers and while the tale of the Indian woman who overcomes grindin There s been a lot of buzz about this book but I found it to be an airport paperback tarted up as literature In India a poor woman hands her daughter over to an orphanage rather then risk her being killed as daughters aren t valued In America, a physician and her India born doctor husband decide to adopt a daughter the abandoned girl when attempts to conceive a child fail The author bounces back and forth between the two mothers and while the tale of the Indian woman who overcomes grinding poverty to have a son and a decent marriage is interesting for its insight into Indian life, the chapters about the American couple make them seem like whiners motherhood is hard children change a marriage There s a bit of tension when the grown daughter goes to India to work and look for her birth parents but this book suffers from having being read on the heels of Audrey Niffenegger whose prose was so descriptive and other worldly I don t find Shilpi Somaya Gowda to be a particularly good writer She resorts to cliches and this isaptly described as a beach book


  6. says:

    Once again I find myself in the minority regarding a book that is a best seller and has remained so for some time I read somewhere in a review that the author did not think that the book was ready but she was encouraged by the publisher to proceed I have to agree that I think it was not ready and that the writing is not that of a mature author For me, many of the characters are so poorly developed and very shallow Are we too believe that Somer who is highly educated would give so little thou Once again I find myself in the minority regarding a book that is a best seller and has remained so for some time I read somewhere in a review that the author did not think that the book was ready but she was encouraged by the publisher to proceed I have to agree that I think it was not ready and that the writing is not that of a mature author For me, many of the characters are so poorly developed and very shallow Are we too believe that Somer who is highly educated would give so little thought to all the major events of her life Marriage to someone from another culture, transcultural adoption, modifying her career path and on very frustrating The men are given very little attention which has mentioned many times elsewhere The most enjoyable parts and well written parts are those set in India which also focus on Kavita and later Asha her daughter who returns and discovers her roots and family.People who have adopted have come down on both sides regarding this book For me as an adoptive parent it just doesn t cut it


  7. says:

    Emotionally impacting, culture intense, and intricately engaging Secret Daughter is a tightly written, realistic novel exploring family dynamics in relation to infertility, adoption, economics, poverty wealth, and mixed culture relationships over, it s a novel exploring the complexities of the unique cords forever binding in one form or another mothers and daughters daughters and mothers Sometimes, as she has well learned in life, one s actions must precede the emotions one hopes toEmotionally impacting, culture intense, and intricately engaging Secret Daughter is a tightly written, realistic novel exploring family dynamics in relation to infertility, adoption, economics, poverty wealth, and mixed culture relationships over, it s a novel exploring the complexities of the unique cords forever binding in one form or another mothers and daughters daughters and mothers Sometimes, as she has well learned in life, one s actions must precede the emotions one hopes to feel Nature vs nurture What exactly drives us to be who we are Like what we like Do what we do As an adoptee, myself, those types of questions burned through my mind from adolescence onward, just as they did for Kavita s daughter and Somer s daughter Along with other questions, too Who do I look like Where are my people from Why did my mother and father give me away Was I a financial burden Sickly Or simply an inconvenience Or were my parents deemed unfit, or too young, or scandalously unmarried And why, when I pose these questions to my adopted mother, does she respond so vehemently defensive, vague, and obtuse as if wounded and rejected, herselfIt s just not fairI ve spent sixteen years not knowing, sixteen years asking questions nobody can answer I just don t feel like I really belong, in this family or anywhere It s like a piece of me is always missing Don t you understand that Gowda provides readers with viewpoints, nuances, and idiosyncrasies from both sides of the adoption coin, as well as the culture coin Indian and American As this richly heartfelt story unfolds, she takes readers into the hearts of three main characters Kavita, Somer, Asha in addition to a few key support characters through their distinct voices, hearts, worldviews, hopes, dreams, faiths, doubts, fears, joys, and cultures We discover the cord that binds the heart of mother and child, can reach across a thousand miles and may never to be broken stretched thin, perhaps frayed and faded, a bit but never fully broken I can t think of aperfect book I could have read after my recent reunion with my sister, Sherrie Miller My beautiful, bodacious, birth sister After fifty three years of separation, having no clue where on earth I genetically originated from, I finally identified and found all my maternal birth siblings See Hanna Family Tree in my photos aren t we a lovely bunch It has been a joyous, overwhelming and exiting experience connecting with my birth family in addition to remaining connected to my wonderful adopted sister too The characters and storyline in Gowda s novel, didn t really mirror my adoption reunion experience But what story does Everyone s story is uniquely their own That s one of the joys of reading to gain understanding and appreciation for each others similarities and differences Whether or not you or someone you know has been touched by adoption, gender selection, infertility, or mixed marriage relationships, this is a novel that can be read and absorbed and genuinely felt by most all The story is engaging and clearly communicated Gowda richly painted Indian culture depicting the many complex facets of economics, living centers, family dynamics, faith, beliefs, customs, and language I found the glossary in the back ever so helpful The characters and dialogue come across as genuine The story line didn t bog down in trivialities or meander needlessly hither and yon however, it did jump around a bit and lag somewhat mid book And some chapters felt a bit cut off As if the word count was too long and that was the quickest way to prune Appreciatively though, Gowda didn t fabricated a Disney ending nor did she turn it into a total Shakespearean tragedy, either Overall, a highly recommendable novel to fans of realistic contemporary fiction who embrace family dramas and or enjoy exploring world cultures, women s issues, adoption, and mother daughter relationships FOUR Engaging and Heartfelt Family Culture Identity Fusion STARS


  8. says:

    Watching so many Bollywood hits, I never saw India as I saw her through the eyes of the writer She has the ability to take you into her world in such a captivating way making you see all the negatives and the positives of her Homeland, and finally you have nothing but fall in love with this rich and contradicting country.Shilpi Gowda managed to discuss fatal subjects through her book in a smooth and endearing way With her rich characters she goes through Poverty, Identity, Motherhood, Traditi Watching so many Bollywood hits, I never saw India as I saw her through the eyes of the writer She has the ability to take you into her world in such a captivating way making you see all the negatives and the positives of her Homeland, and finally you have nothing but fall in love with this rich and contradicting country.Shilpi Gowda managed to discuss fatal subjects through her book in a smooth and endearing way With her rich characters she goes through Poverty, Identity, Motherhood, Traditions, Love, Marital Relationships, Loss, Hope, Family and Adoption She managed to put fair light on each character showing thier good and bad sides equally without being judgemental.With her warm way she suceeded to show us how Jasu blammed himself for the loss of his daughters,for his failure to provide for his family and protect his son, in one of the greatest chapters of the book, making us see he was not such a cold heart afterall.There was also some moments in the book when she could perfectly transfer the idea of contradiction by showing two Indias the poor one and the rich one through the marvelous comparison between the luxurious wedding and life in the slums.Last night when I reached the last pages of this book, I felt so sad to leave this world behind that I was so taken with.The story is touching, warm and I highly recommend it


  9. says:

    I really like books set in India as I find their culture fascinating I enjoyed the last part of the book the most as it s mainly set in India Moving story of adoption and learning who your family is.


  10. says:

    Shout out to GR friend Pamela who steered me to this wonderful novel I hadn t heard of it before she reviewed it What a story Author Shilpi Somaya Gowda did her research in learning the Indian Cultures and the amazing disparity of cultures and languages within India For example, I didn t realize there are twenty one major languages in India, as well as English Although there is significant wealth in India, there is also major poverty and backward customs Female infanticide was rampant just Shout out to GR friend Pamela who steered me to this wonderful novel I hadn t heard of it before she reviewed it What a story Author Shilpi Somaya Gowda did her research in learning the Indian Cultures and the amazing disparity of cultures and languages within India For example, I didn t realize there are twenty one major languages in India, as well as English Although there is significant wealth in India, there is also major poverty and backward customs Female infanticide was rampant just decades ago, and still occurs today This is an emotional novel that is full of cultural information I truly enjoyed learning about India, although much was disturbing.The story is told from the perspectives of three major characters Kavita, an impoverished Indian woman who needs to give up her daughter to save her Somer, a California woman who marries an Indian man and learns she is infertile and Asha, the daughter Kavita gave up who was adopted by Somer and her husband The heart of the novel is each woman s growth in perspective The greatest growth was in Asha and Somer Asha, being adopted, struggled with her identity She loves her parents, but has curiosity about her birth parents All her struggles she deems to be the result of her parents not understanding her she thinks her birth parents would understand her better Somer wants to be the perfect mother and fears her daughter s independence, which strains her marriage I enjoy this technique of showing the different perspectives because the reader is able to understand well meaning actions that are perceived differently Author Gowda writes all her characters as flawed, yet well meaning It s a beautiful story of growth.Gowda used Kavita to illuminate some of the poverty conditions of India and how that affects living choices Kavita s story shows the struggles of the impoverished to work them up from poverty, while trying to be good people.This is a wonderful story that describes the conflicting feelings of adopted children and the fears of the adoptive parents And it s a beautiful story of family what makes a family A beautiful quote from the novel At some point, the family you create isimportant than the one you re born into For Adoptive families, this rings true It s a great read


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