“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

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“Harvest”, by Belva Plain

My first Belva Plain book was found in a used book rack which is a feature in a country restaurant/ convenience store in Beaver Cove, Cape Breton. I had found that first book was perfect for days spent at our cabin, which is in that area. It was, to my mind, a “ladies” book. One in which the author mulls about such things as relationships, duty, taste, and the unexpected ways families will evolve through the times.
“Harvest” is more of the same, which is what one looks for when sitting down to a Belva Plain novel. Setting is mostly New York. It does give a good sense of neighbourhood(s). She is an very observant people watcher, and her characters, which are drawn out with careful detail, have a staying power long after her books are set down.  Almost as though, they have become our neighbours, our friends.

Where I got it: In Vincent and Sandy’s box of “give away books”.
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date Published: September, 1990