Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Tour and Review: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Publisher: Morrow Paperbacks (Reprint edition)
Publish Date: April 5, 2011
Paperback, 368 pages 

My Review:
Why I read this book:  When this came out in hardcover last year I wanted to read it, so when it came up available through TLC book tours, I signed up as soon as I could.

My thoughts:  Beautifully written and plotted, Secret Daughter grabbed me from the first page until the end.

All the good things I heard about this book last year are very true.  I am so glad I chose to be a part of this tour.  If this is Ms. Gowda's first book I can't wait to read more by her.  I love how she parallels the plots in this book.  Seeing what is happening with Asha's adoptive family and with her birth family over the span of 20 years is fascinating.  I also really enjoyed seeing life in India too.  Just a small glimpse of the life in India has me wanting to read more about this fascinating country.

I loved the characters and the chance to really get to know them and understand the motives that each has.  Asha was every bit the young 20-year-old, a little spoiled and a little selfish.  But she grows and becomes a wonderful young woman.  Also knowing why her birth mother gave her up and how her life is for the rest of her life is wonderful.  And then the tale of Kris and Somer is fascinating as well.  Watching all of them through good times and bad makes the book feel real and interesting.

The plot also moves along at a great pace.  Secret Daughter was very hard to put down.  I wasn't feeling well while I was reading this, and usually I don't want to read, but with this one, I kept right on reading.  I almost hated to nap and put it down.  I like how it switches back and forth between the different characters and families in the same time frame.  Since it revolved around two different cultures it was very easy to keep the characters straight.

Secret Daughter is a wonderful book.  If you enjoy books that straddle two cultures or use exotic settings but focus on the everyday person, then this is a book for you.  If you like books about family interaction then this is a book for you.  If you enjoy books that explore how people grow and change (even later in life) then this is a book for you.  In fact I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this book.  So if you didn't get a chance to read this when it came out last year, give it a try in paperback.

My Rating:  4.5/5.0

About the Book:
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.
Secret Daughter is a #1 bestseller in Canada.
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 Bachelor’s Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1991, she spent a summer as a volunteer in an Indian orphanage. A native of Canada, she has lived in New York, North Carolina, and California. She now lives in Dallas with her husband and children.

Shilpi’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 12th: Helen’s Book Blog
Wednesday, April 13th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Monday, April 18th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, April 19th: Books in the City
Wednesday, April 20th: Write Meg
Monday, April 25th: Rundpinne
Tuesday, April 26th: Library Queue
Thursday, April 28th: nomadreader
Tuesday, May 3rd: Tina’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, May 4th: Unputdownables
Thursday, May 5th: Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, May 6th: My Reading Room
Monday, May 9th: A Few More Pages
Tuesday, May 10th: The Book Chick