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Secret Daughter  By  cover art

Secret Daughter

By: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Narrated by: Soneela Nankani
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Publisher's Summary

Debut novelist Shilpi Somaya Gowda pens this compelling tale about two families, worlds apart, linked by one Indian child. After giving birth to a girl for a second time, impoverished Kavita must give her up to an orphanage. The baby, named Asha, is adopted by an American doctor and raised in California. But once grown, Asha decides to return to India.

©2010 Shilpi Somaya Gowda (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

“Gowda writes with compassion and uncanny perception … while portraying the vibrant traditions, sights, and sounds of modern India.” ( Booklist)

What listeners say about Secret Daughter

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    462
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    29
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Performance
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Must Read

A engaging and fascinating story of one American family, their adopted daughter from India, her paternal Indian family, and their eventual acceptance of one another and treasured peaceful coexistence. I highly recommend this book.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Story of Many Truths

One of the most interesting and enjoyable books I have read or listened to this year including Cuttting for Stone. The author brought hope and happiness to me, I could relate to each character. The narrator was perfect.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I call this a Publishers Book

The story is engaging but poorly written. The writing is mixed with some parts well written and some poorly written, much of it maudlin. When I read a book like this I think a new author has a good idea but gets a publisher that puts a team of mediocre writers on it to get it out the door. Overall amateurish. Toward the end, I just started skipping over sections trying to miss the poorly written stuff. Much of the ending is just so much mush.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Just OK

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The book was entertaining, but not something I would recommend to an avid reader. It was just OK.

If you’ve listened to books by Shilpi Somaya Gowda before, how does this one compare?

Shilpi is a good reader and her Indian accents added to the story.

Any additional comments?

I would have liked for the characters to have been developed a little better. I felt like the story was being

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good listen, well read

For a first try, a good book. A bit slow at first, however, halfway through, it got better. The narrator was very good and made the story authentic.

If you enjoyed this book, I HIGHLY recommend A fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Motherhood and family are deeper than blood

Where does Secret Daughter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is a captivating book which makes you wish the drive to work was longer.

Have you listened to any of Soneela Nankani’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first book I have listened to read by Soneela Nankani. Her inflection and intonation, combined with the vernacular of the book allowed the listener to envision the scene and gain insight to the characters personality.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Nothing is as simple as it first seems, especially in India, especially when it involves family.

Any additional comments?

This book made me think of my relationship with my own mother who is deceased. I appreciate her all that much more.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good easy listening

Where does Secret Daughter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

An enjoyable story I enjoyed listening to all of the different characters perspective on the same story. The reader was wonderful to listen to.

Have you listened to any of Soneela Nankani’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Who was the most memorable character of Secret Daughter and why?

The daughter because she was able to see both sides of the cultural clash between the characters

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great read for a book club!

Color me impressed. I went in with low expectations because this was a first-time author, but I was quickly hooked. The writing was solid, the story well-told and the characters well-developed. There were a couple chapters about 3/4 of the way through when I felt like I'd been duped and it was a book with an agenda (trying to help adopted children stop asking questions about their birth families), but that was fleeting and then quickly dismissed. This was engaging and a fast listen, yet I found myself teary-eyed at the end, which means I cared about the characters. If all debuts could be this solid, we'd be spoiled. I plan to recommend this to my book club, because it's great fodder for discussion.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

the author revises the planet

The story is one of family relationships, specifically mother-daughter relationships. But she is too heavy-handed in her focus, using a sweeper brush instead of a fine point. She also writes NorCal culture in the 1990s as if no Indian people or subculture exists - this Indian adoptee has never eaten Indian food? Really? Or been to Fremont? Or heard of waxing? My uncle lived in Menlo Park from 1985 - 2003, and I can tell you this reeks of invention.

The author then pretends you can see through the air of Bangalore all the way to the sea. In 2004. And that you can take taxis there and not hit bad traffic.

These patent fabrications reinforce the feeling of artificiality that pervades the women's relationships with one another as well. It was a nice try, but really suffered from the forced details she made up trying to make the story more dramatic. It did not feel like it could be true, and the people didn't feel like they could be true, so when the latest emotional tragedy struck I found it hard to be moved.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An entertaining story of two worlds.

What made the experience of listening to Secret Daughter the most enjoyable?

The story was well written. I became engaged with the characters right away.
The performance was great and it was a pleasure to listen to.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed learning a little bit more about Indian culture. This is not a culture that I am very familiar with so I found it very interesting.

3 people found this helpful