A coworker recommended this book to me and she forewarned me that it would most definitely spark a few emotions in me, mainly grief, and would undoubtedly help a few tears fall down my cheeks. The tale of this book in it’s simplest form describes the life of two mother’s on opposite sides of the world, intricately entwined without being aware, due to the life force that binds them – their mutual daughter. Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and the child that binds both of their destinies, Secret Daughter poignantly explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love, as witnessed through the lives of two families – one Indian, one American – and the child that indelibly connects them. Our September Book Club Twitter Party is finally upon us!  Have you been keeping up with our Book Club pick for the month?  It is Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. Most importantly, Shilpi Somaya Gowda, the book’s author, will be joining us for the Twitter party. Even if you haven’t read the book, jump online!  Chatting with an author about her writing process, how to get a book published, and even, when she finds her inspiration, is a fantastic opportunity!
The novel explores the issue of how gender affects one’s role in society, both in India and the United States. An overarching theme of the novel is motherhood, and how that experience can change a woman.
Both marriages portrayed in the novel, despite different circumstances and origins, face significant challenges. I read this book upon your recommendation, one of my favorite books of all time and cultivated my newly discovered hobby of reading.
This book was awesome and I can’t wait to break it down with all the SITS book club ladies! This lack of literature in my life was in large part to a five-day whirlwind adventure to Vegas and needless to say, Sin City doesn’t provide a lot of room or time for reading, despite all the lights.


Let that be my warning to you, as a fellow reader, that this novel is not one for public transit on your morning commutes. Kavita, a mother in India who is forced to give away her daughter due to the inability to raise her in her current circumstances is the first mother we’re introduced to.
But in a culture that favors sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter’s life is to give her away. When she and her husband, Krishnan, see a photo of the baby with the golden-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion. You must pick this book up, it is absolutely fantastic and an early leader on my 2011 favorite’s list!
In India in 1984, destitute Kavita secretly carries her newborn daughter to an orphanage, knowing her husband, Jasu, would do away with the baby just as he had with their firstborn daughter. What are the differences in how Somer and Kavita experience motherhood, and are there any similarities?
The book was fantastic, and as an adoptive parent it gave me so much to pause and consider. Since returning home to Vancouver I thankfully fell back into my regular rhythm and quickly picked up where I originally left off in my reading of Canadian author Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s inspirational and emotionally charged novel, Secret Daughter. It’s best left for your reading prior to falling asleep at night, or wrapped in a blanket by yourself on a Sunday afternoon. The daughter given up for adoption and in turn, the girl in the middle is Asha, who is adopted at the young age of one, by the second mother in the story, Somer, in the United States. It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son. Somer knows life will change with the adoption but is convinced that they love they already feel will overcome all obstacles.


In their social stratum, girls are considered worthless because they can’t perform physical labor, and their dowries are exorbitant. Could her parents have done anything to lessen the sense of feeling incomplete Asha had as an adolescent?
With that said, I fully recommend that everyone reading these words pick up this book and tackle it at soon as you possibly can. That’s literally all I can say before I start spewing forth several key heart-wrenching points in the story! That same year in San Francisco, two doctors, Somer and Krishnan, she from San Diego, he from Bombay, suffer their second miscarriage and consider adoption.
Can her conflict with Somer be chalked up to that experienced in all mother?teenage daughter relationships, or was it more complicated?
I will definitely read this book to learn more vibrant traditions, sights, and sounds of modern India.
What does Asha learn about the true meaning of family, and could she have learned it without going to India? In alternating chapters, Gowda traces Asha’s life in America—her struggle being a minority, despite living a charmed life, and Kavita and Jasu’s hardships, including several years spent in Dharavi, Bombay’s (now Mumbai’s) infamous slum, and the realization that their son has turned to drugs.
Gowda writes with compassion and uncanny perception from the points of view of Kavita, Somer, and Asha, while portraying the vibrant traditions, sights, and sounds of modern India.




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