In a tiny hut in rural India, Kavita gives birth to Asha. Unable to afford the luxury of raising a daughter, her husband forces Kavita to give the baby up-a decision that will haunt them both for the rest of their lives. Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. When her husband Krishnan shows her a photo of baby Asha sent to him from a Mumbai orphanage, she falls instantly in love. Waiting for the adoption to be finalized, she knows her life will change, but is convinced that the love she already feels will overcome all obstacles. In a braided narrative that unites the stories of Kavita, Somer and Asha, "Secret Daughter" moves between the two families, one struggling to eke out an existence in Mumbai, the other grappling with the challenge of raising a brownskinned child from another culture, Gowda poignantly parses issues of culture, identity, and familial loyalty.
Fiction with a conscience, as two couples worlds apart are linked by an adopted child.... A lightweight fable of family division and reconciliation, gaining intensity and depth from the author's sharp social observations - Kirkus
Shipli Somaya Gowda was born and raised in Toronto to parents who migrated there from Bombay. She earned a Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was awarded a Morehead Scholarship, and an MBA from Stanford University. After moving to Dallas in 2006, she enrolled in the SMU Novel Writing series. On the basis of her manuscript, she was selected to participate in the New York Writers' Seminar. She lives in Dallas with her husband and two daughters, and is working on a second novel