South Asian Author Challenge, Book 2/5: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
This novel tells the story Kavita, a woman from a small village in rural India who is forced by her husband to surrender her newborn daughter to an orphanage. In their culture, sons are prized and daughters are seen as simply another mouth to feed and dowry to pay. At the same time, Somer and Kris, a childless couple in California, are seeking a way to finally become a family. They decide to look at adopting and go to an orphanage in India that Kris' parents recommend. These two stories become weaved together in a novel that spans approximately 25 years.
I loved this book. It's a touching and beautiful portrayal of what it means to be family. It deals with ideas of love, loss, roots, culture clashes and a sense of belonging to a place. The characters were all well-developed and I identified in some way with every single one of them. I loved that a novel that begins with a story about how little girls are seen as worthless morphs into a novel about what it means to be a woman and all of the roles that woman may take on over a lifetime regardless of where they are in the world.
You can also read this op/ed by the author on the 100 Million Lost Girls of India.