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Review: The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Title: The Golden Son
Author: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Year Published: 2016

Genre: Adult Fiction
Pages: 387
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)India

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book for myself

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Anil is the cherished eldest son of a large family from an Indian village, expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain they inhabit and her dear parents. As childhood friends, they are inseparable, with one of those rare relationships that transcends circumstance and the inequalities of life. But with the pressures and complications of adulthood, their paths begin to diverge. Anil journeys to America to pursue his dream of becoming a medical doctor, finding both temptation and trial at a gritty urban hospital in Dallas, Texas. In India, Leena leaves her beloved home to join her new husband in a distant village, to discover her new family has unexpected complications.

Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart. Many years later, their lives intersect once again. Altered by their choices and experiences, these two old friends are reunited when they need each other most. A tender and bittersweet story of friendship and family.

Review: I LOVED Gowda's Secret Daughter and was beyond excited when I saw this book! As with Secret Daughter, this book had me from the very start. I am not sure if it's the writing style, the characters, both, or something else, but I just love this author's books.

Gowda does a wonderful job of setting the scene. I feel like I can smell the Indian village, with it's fields of cotton and sugarcane, the cooking, and the dirt roads. I can also feel the chaos and tension of the Dallas hospital where Anil works and his shame as he feels he has let down his family, friends, and himself.

Gowda's characters are also strong, from Anil and Leena to the supporting cast of Leena's horrible husband and in-laws to Anil's American colleagues and friends as well as his family in India. I want them all to be okay! I assumed that I knew how this story would end, but I was wrong on many fronts, which I like. As the book ended I felt at peace. Then I thought: When is her next book coming?

Challenges for which this book qualifies:

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