“Secret Daughter” by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

       This is an engaging story spanning 20 years about a girl, Asha, who was brought to an orphanage in India by her mother when she was three days old.  This sad deed was a desperate and courageous move to save Asha’s life from certain infanticide by Asha’s father’s family.

Asha was fortunate, she was adopted as a one year old by a young couple who very much wanted a child to love.  Her adoptive parents were physicians, living in the United States. The man was a native of India, and had extended family there.  His wife, Asha’s adoptive mother, was an American.   They returned to United States with Asha, and she was raised as an American.

At age 20 Asha goes to India on a scholarship to work at a newspaper in Mumbai.  While there she stays with her father’s parents, and gets to meet her extended family on his side, most notably her grandmother.  She is warmly welcomed into the family fold, despite the fact that her adoptive mother had not revisited India with Asha in the intervening years since the adoption.

Asha sets out on her career as a journalist and, we see, learning about her heritage.  She also wants to find out more about her birth mother….

 Each chapter in this book is told from the perspective of one of the characters, the birth mother, the adoptive mother, and Asha herself being the predominant voices.

I found that I really began to enjoy this book once Asha went to Mumbai.  The author invests more into settings, and plot development it seems once this has occurred, and it does draw you in to a great  family story from this point on.

Life lesson:  A mother’s love and caring is one of the greatest gifts of life.

Where I got it:  From Sandy.

Published by: William Morrow, An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Year Published: 2010


“Vagabonding” by Rolf Potts

This was a book that I found in my sister Pat’s bookcase.  The subtitle reads: “An uncommon guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel”.  

A good, practical book,  sprinkled throughout with appropriate and inspiring quotes from notable historic and current-day travelers (aka vagabonders).  It works well as a sit down read, or as a resource for travel tips and advice.  It is also a book that can redefine personal values.  “On the road, you learn to improvise your days, take a second look at everything you see, and not obsess over your schedule.”  i.e. slow down and see the World you are in.

What I got from this book:  A new way of viewing travel.  My view was that I would love to travel to places that I have heard about that sound intriguingly different from home.  Now, I think it will be more about learning from the people I may meet, and  keeping moving in the world. Travel, as a natural expression of the desire for personal growth and greater understanding.

Recommend:  Highly recommend.

Publisher: Villard, New York

Year Published: 2003

“Round the World With Ridgway” by John and Marie Christine Ridgway

.“Round the World With Ridgway” is a true account by the authors of their entry in the Whitbread Round the World Race in August 1977 to April 1978.   This is a riveting book for anyone, not just for sailors.  The authors are very open about their own strengths and weaknesses, and about the many joys and frustrations that living with a crew ” in a 57 foot tube” for over 8 months presents.  The journey was made in 4 legs, with stops at Cape Town, Auckland, and Rio.

John and Marie Ridgway are accomplished, engaging authors.  John, especially in his entry for Day 23, Leg 3 – Auckland to Rio:  Entitled “Night Watch”.  Read that entry if nothing else, it will take you there.

The format for this book is primarily from daily entries by each of the authors.   As John noted in the section Some thoughts in retrospect:  “Marie Christine and I have written this book as we went along, neither reading the other’s material.  I hope we have captured the passions of the moment; it seemed more honest than writing with hindsight.  the reader will be able to see the mistakes I made.  There were plenty of them.”  In addition to themselves they had an interesting assemblage of personalities in their crew, many of whom were gathered from the current instructors, or prospectives instructors in their School of Adventure.

What I got from reading the book: A bad case of wanderlust, I’m afraid.  One too many literary trips around Cape Horn for me of late.  Also, a respect for the power of group dynamics, leadership, teamwork, dreaming big dreams and making them happen!

Recommend:  Highly recommend.

Where I got it:  On loan, from Doug, Charlie’s brother.

Publisher:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston.                                                                                   Year Published:  1978