Synopses & Reviews
“Moving and thought-provoking and informative and imaginative and beautifully executed. What a wonderful story!”
—Mary Jane Clark
“This book is a must for anyone touched by adoption, or India, or the delicate dynamic between adolescent girls and their mothers.”
—Sujata Massey, author of Shimura Trouble
Secret Daughter, a first novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, explores powerfully and poignantly the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love through the experiences of two families—one Indian, one American—and the child that binds them together. A masterful work set partially in the Mumbai slums so vividly portrayed in the hit film Slumdog Millionaire, Secret Daughter recalls the acclaimed novels of Kim Edwards and Thrity Umrigar, yet sparkles with the freshness of a truly exciting new literary voice.
The Secret Daughter is a deeply moving and timeless story of an adopted daughters long distance search for cultural identity and acceptance; first with the mother who raised her, and ultimately with the mother who gave her up. Kathleen Kent, author of The Heretic's Daughter
In her engaging debut, Gowda weaves together two compelling stories… 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. Booklist
This wise debut moves deftly between the childs two mothers and cultures. Good Housekeeping
Fiction with a conscience, as two couples worlds apart are linked by an adopted child....A lightweight fable of family division and reconciliation, gaining intensity and depth from the authors sharp social observations Kirkus
“Set in California and the teeming city of Mumbai, SECRET DAUGHTER is a beautifully composed compelling story of love, loss, discovery and the true meaning of family.” Anjali Banerjee, author of Imaginary Men
First novelist Gowda offers especially vivid descriptions of the contrasts and contradictions of modern India... Rife with themes that lend themselves to discussion, such as cultural identity, adoption, and womens roles, this will appeal to the book club crowd. Library Journal
Its moving and thought-provoking and informative and imaginative and beautifully executed. What a wonderful story! Mary Jane Clark, author of Dying for Mercy
A No. 1 bestseller in Canada, “Secret Daughter” tells a nuanced coming-of-age story that is faithful to the economic and emotional realities of two very different cultures. Washington Post
“Gowda has masterfully portrayed two families... linked by a powerful, painful tie that complicates their lives... A thought-provoking examination of the challenges of being a woman in America and in India -- and in the psychological spaces in between.” Chitra Divakaruni, author of The Palace of Illusions
"Imbued with magical realism, Barrios tale of lost loves sparkles. A gorgeously spun and deftly told tale." --Kirkus
"Barrios story combines the timeless quality of a fable with the fully imagined emotional force of a modern novel. [Her characters]...bring to the novel the embroidered richness of a family saga told and retold across generations." --Publisher's Weekly
"Carters translation of this whimsical novel offers a vivid and sultry language that perfectly reflects the Laguna family and their fantastical world. With self-healing wounds and pet cockroaches, this tale has it all. And while that can prove problematic, theres no doubt that Barrio is a wonderfully gifted storyteller." --Booklist
"Moving and thought-provoking and informative and imaginative and beautifully executed. What a wonderful story "
--Mary Jane Clark
"This book is a must for anyone touched by adoption, or India, or the delicate dynamic between adolescent girls and their mothers."
--Sujata Massey, author of Shimura Trouble
, a first novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, explores powerfully and poignantly the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love through the experiences of two families--one Indian, one American--and the child that binds them together. A masterful work set partially in the Mumbai slums so vividly portrayed in the hit film Slumdog Millionaire
, Secret Daughter
recalls the acclaimed novels of Kim Edwards and Thrity Umrigar, yet sparkles with the freshness of a truly exciting new literary voice.
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 children.
The 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 again.
Asha, 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 India.
Compulsively 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.
Somers life is everything sheimagined it would be—shesnewly married and has startedher career as a physician in SanFrancisco—until she makes the devastatingdiscovery she never will beable to have children.
The same year in India, a poormother makes the heartbreakingchoice to save her newborn daughterslife by giving her away. It is adecision that will haunt Kavita forthe rest of her life, and cause aripple effect that travels across theworld and back again.
Asha, adopted out of a Mumbaiorphanage, is the child that bindsthe destinies of these two women. Wefollow both families, invisibly connecteduntil Ashas journey of self-discoveryleads her back to India.
Compulsively readable anddeeply touching, Secret Daughter isa story of the unforeseen ways inwhich our choices and families affectour lives, and the indelible power oflove in all its many forms.
In the tradition of Laura Esquivel's Like Water For Chocolate, The House of Impossible Loves is a novel set in twentieth-century Spain and France revolving around a family of cursed women.
An “exuberant” (El Mundo
) debut novel of a family bound by searing passions, an earthy magic, and a very unusual curse
The Laguna women suffer from an odd affliction: each generation is condemned to tragic love affairs and to give birth only to girls who are unable to escape the cruel fate of their mothers. One fateful hunting season in their small Castilian town, a young landowner arrives and begins a passionate affair with Clara Laguna, the latest in the family line, daughter of a one-eyed woman known as “the Laguna witch.” He leaves her pregnant with yet another daughter, but the seeds of change are sown. Eventually the long-awaited son—Santiago, the great-great grandson of Clara—is born. A window of hope is opened, but is the curse truly over?
Introducing a cast of memorable, eccentric characters from a bearded, mute female cook to the local do-gooding priest and the indelible Laguna women themselves, The House of Impossible Loves is a feat of imaginative storytelling that marks the arrival of a talented new novelist.
About the Author
Shilpi Somaya Gowda was born and raised in Toronto to parents who migrated there from Mumbai. She holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1991, she spent a summer as a volunteer in an Indian orphanage. She has lived in New York, North Carolina, and Texas, and currently makes her home in California with her husband and children.