Sunday, February 20, 2011

Secret Daughter

It's easy to see why this novel is a Canadian bestseller.  Yes, it is chick lit, but great chick lit.  Both my book clubs have it on the reading list, but BPYC reviewed it first.

This is the author's first novel.  The story is well crafted; the female characters are strong and fascinating.  Kavita, whose first daughter is murdered at birth, resolves to save the life of her second 'secret' daughter, by carrying her to an orphanage and giving her up for adoption.  The girl ends up in North America, well-schooled and well-loved, but always wondering about her biological mother.

The story takes place on two continents and weaves back and forth between the lives of the different families, generations and cultures.

The nature of motherhood is certainly a major theme, but not to the extent that the non-mothers in the group felt the book didn't speak to them on other levels.

Dualism, fate, destiny, luck, privilege, the notion of choice.

And some fun new words, like:
- futta fut (quickly)
- khush (happy)
- yaar (friend)

The group's only criticism was that the male characters were a bit one dimensional, used more as plot devices or catalysts and not as fully developed as the women in the story.  But then, this really was a story about the lives of women:

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