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Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  34 reviews
For readers of Shilpi Somaya Gowdas "Secret Daughter" and Nancy Richlers "The Imposter Bride", a breathtaking novel from Anita Kushwaha about the ties that bind mothers and daughters together and the secrets that tear them apart

Veena, Mala and Nandini are three very different women with something in common. Out of love, each bears a secret that will haunt her lifeand that
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by HarperAvenue
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Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!!
Heart-wrenching, compassionate & an absorbing intergenerational tale!

SECRET LIVES OF MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS by ANITA KUSHWAHA was such a touching, emotional, dramatic, and powerful story that tackles the complex relationships between mothers and daughters. It is such a beautiful book filled with so much love, heart, desire, acceptance, and truth that I was immediately drawn into.

I have an absolute love for these types of tales that center around adoption and motherhood and the secrets we
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
3.5 STARS - Secret Lives of Mothers and Daughters is a touching story about a small group of women whose lives are woven together as they struggle with issues of identity, insecurities, motherhood, family obligations, mental illness and the influence of culture and traditional roles on their lives.

I loved that the story was set in Ottawa, Ontario (yay Canada and CanLit!) but it was the often complicated bonds between mothers and daughters that drew me into the story. By using multiple POVs,
Anna Kaling
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
SLOMAD is a beautiful book about three women. They all feel like real people - they have their own hopes, dreams, and fears and, crucially, the pressure of responsibilities that every generation of women, in every country, has felt. In fact, they don't just feel like real people but like friends. I hoped with them and cried with them and shut my eyes when they had to make tough decisions.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't an "issues" book. It's not there to preach at you or make some political point
Samantha Bailey
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was mesmerized by Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters. Its a stunning, gorgeously written inter-generational tale about Veena, Mala, and Nandini, three very different mothers, each harboring their own secrets, and a young woman named Asha, who links them all. A layered, emotional, powerful story about duty, desire, and the secrets we keep in the name of love, its a book I savored through every word. ...more
Samantha Verant
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kushwaha has delivered a beautiful book filled with heart, hope, and truth. While all the characters are beautifully rendered and as the storyline comes together, Asha's grief, her wanting to know answers (through her journal entries), really resonated with me-- best summed up with this quote: "Doesn't everyone want to know they come from love?"

Kushwaha hits the longing...the truth of all these women (the mothers, the daughters), the mistakes we make, the secrets we keep, and it made me question
Alina Boyden
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book that deals with the universal themes of love and acceptance, and the stress and joy families bring in equal measure. I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in family dramas, with the added twist of a South Asian diasporic experience.
Sara T.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
TLDR; The Secret Lives is a story of adoption and motherhood that is as beautiful, compassionate, and as hopeful as it is heartbreaking.

Minor thematic spoilers follow.
In The Secret Lives of Mothers and Daughters ,Author Anita Kushwaha tackles one of the most complex and complicated connections between women: the relationship between mother and daughter. It is a deep dive into those relationships, from multiple angles, and involving some incredibly complex, but beautifully written characters.

Natalie Jenner
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was unable to put down this absorbing family drama, tearing through the pages to find out both how all the different lives connected as well as their ultimate reconciliation and resolution. This is a heartbreaking yet hopeful and beautiful tale of what motherhood means, the different ways we choose to honour our parents, and the struggle to be true to ourselves. I was particularly moved by the very effective love story of Mala and Ash - I could feel their deep emotion for each other, making ...more
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I will definitely write a longer, more substantial review once I get my thoughts together, but this book is going straight onto my favorites list. The emotion Anita Kushwaha pours into this is stunning and when I reached the end I was devastatedI just wanted to read more!

It was beautiful at its start and I wanted to savor it, but I found myself racing along to find out more as Malas and Ashas stories unfolded. This book is a gift.
Mai Nguyễn
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful novel about secrets, revelation, motherhood, family and love. The voices of the women are convincing and I feel I know them from real life. The plot is complex, and Anita Kushwaha delivers it with ease. Her prose is graceful and filled with compassion.

I really enjoy Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters. I look forward to discovering other work written by this author.
Claire Huston
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review was originally posted on my book blog.

Tackling difficult and emotional themes such as the immigrant experience, mental health and identity, Secrets Lives of Mothers & Daughters is a moving story of the affection, obligations and traditions which maintain and break family bonds.

As in the authors previous novel, Side by Side (click for my review), the characters are incredibly sympathetic, particularly the two young, intelligent, caring women at the centre of the dual narratives:
Lisa Wilkes
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Secret Lives of Mothers and Daughters (SLOMAD) takes readers on an emotional journey laced with unexpected twists and turns. This book opens with a touching description of a couple desperately seeking to grow their family. From the first page, SLOMAD provides a heartfelt, tender depiction of the link shared among blood- and chosen- relatives. Ashas letters to an elusive recipient capture her longing for intimacy and connection, her yearning to communicate with a biological parent shes never ...more
Kendra Ayers
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received and ARC of Secret Lives of Mothers and Daughters and I could not put it down. The book is full of story spinning (as I call it) with dual perspectives and rich dialogue and inner monologue. I loved all of the women represented in this book but I will start with Mala. Shes in love with a man she can never truly have. The torture of this reality, along with the surprise that comes with it, is too much for her to take on alone. I felt for her. I ached each time she lost someone close to ...more
Enid Wray
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
As the title says, this is a novel all about secrets - and harm that comes from keeping them. The fact of multiple secrets - across generations - creates layers of mystery, but, the author lets the reader in on it quite early on. Granted perhaps not every reader will twig to it, but, for me or anyone else who does, it eliminated the sense of intrigue or mystery that had been keeping me reading.

While the novel does do a good job of exploring the cultural tensions and myriad of issues (sudden
Eddy BT
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a richly layered story that explores the complexities of family, our identities, and the dependencies between the two. The characters all mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, or lovers come to life in relatable fashion, caught between the demands of duty and their own unique desires. I found myself engrossed in this push and pull as their secrets unravelled in astonishing, sometimes heartbreaking, ways. Anita Kushwahas writing is gorgeous, and this story is bursting with intimacy and ...more
Rebecca Taylor
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A multigenerational novel that is expertly told, Kushwaha masterfully juggles multiple points of views and intersecting story lines. I was deeply moved by both Asha and Malas life events, choices, and their individual burdens: personal, cultural, and traditional, that shaped their thinking, emotions, and choices. Peopled with characters both flawed and relatable, Kushwaha displays a deep understanding of character craft and how to translate inner experiences and outer choices into a narrative ...more
Madi Sinha
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Unputdownable! I loved this absolutely stunning, beautifully-written novel about expectations, secrets, and family. Told as two intersecting storylines, Secret Lives of Mothers and Daughters had me hooked from page 1 with its gorgeous prose, heartbreaking love story, and complex, compelling characters and relationships. Anita Kushwaha explores motherhood, the Indian-American experience, love, grief, and what it means to be a family in a way that reminded me of Everything I Never Told You by ...more
Ashley King
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and lyrically written, I found it hard to put this stunning novel down. I truly cared for each of the characters, feeling completely invested in each of their stories. I smiled when they smiled and when they were in pain, I felt that to my core--that's what a fantastic job Kushwaha does at crafting her characters and their journeys. I cannot recommend SLOMAD enough and look forward to this author's next novel!
James Fisher
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, feminist
An excellent story, and well told. 5 stars!
Veena, Mala and Nandini are three women who have very different lives, but they are all linked together by a young woman named Asha. Asha is shocked to find out on her 18th birthday that shes adopted, and this discovery leads her seek out the truth of who she really is and where she came from. She soon finds out that her birth and adoption have had enormous impact on not only the people she loves, but also those whom she didnt know existed until this moment.

This is a great intergenerational
Lainey Cameron
I adored this story of how sometimes, in the attempt to do the right thing, we keep secrets that ultimately do not serve (or hurt) the ones we love. Secret Lives of Mothers and Daughters offers up a poignant exploration of the different facets of motherhood.

I enjoyed how the different womens stories intertwined and I especially how the novel brought me what felt like insider insights into the diversity of traditions in first generation immigrant Indian families whove made their homes in Canada.
Elizabeth  Ann Besa-Quirino
A beautiful story of 3 women- mothers and daughters whose lives are woven together seamlessly by love, family and societys expectations.
I was drawn to the realization that in every generation, often, womens feelings are overlooked and put aside for sacrifices they have to make, to make everyone happy. Author Anita Kushwaha eloquently puts in words how 3 women, of different ages, cope with the traditional roles their cultures expect of them. This novel was poignant and mesmerizing. I couldnt put
Kelly Duran
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-debuts
This novel was an utterly absorbing and emotional journey for me. I was immediately drawn in by each of the characters and fully invested in their stories. Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters covers so many important topics but - at its core - Kushwaha has written a wonderfully layered, multi-generational tale about the power of love and the bond of motherhood. Her writing is lyrical and powerful. The emotions her characters are feeling jumped off the page and into my own heart. I was sorry ...more
Daniel-Ravi Thakorlal
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Totally absorbed.

The subject matter isn't the type I gravitate towards but I've really enjoyed the authors previous works.

Well written with richly realised characters and set in a city I know, I honestly didn't want to put this book down.

The quality I've come to associate with the author and more. I cannot wait for her next novel.

Verdict: I cannot recommend this book enough.
Shital Chanthavy
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters, by Anita Kushwaha, very well deserves the five stars that I gave it. I love reading, but Im not a huge reader, so it takes me months to finish a book! I finished this one in 20 days because I just couldnt put it down!

The entire story line really keeps you on the edge of your seat. There were movement during which I felt emotional, and moment during which my jaw hit the floor. I will say that it was somewhat predictable, but that didnt make any less
Trish A
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
As the title implies, the collection of characters in this bookmothers, daughters, and the men in their lives tooall have their own secrets and troubles. For anyone who has feared revealing their true thoughts to the people they love the most (which is all of us at various points in our lives) the anguish felt by the characters, Mala and Asha especially, feels real. You may want to yell through the pages: Just tell the truth!! Itll all work out somehow!! But they dont.

Kushwaha captures the role
Rani Sharma
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Secret Lives of Mothers & Daughters is incredibly well written, compellingly sensitive, and at times, heart wrenching. The stories of daughters and mothers, their love for each other, and their struggles kept my mind and eyes glued to the pages. As the plot took some very emotional twists and turns, displaying the psychological roller coaster of life, I could sense how each character felt through the impressive descriptive writing. It is apparent that the Author is passionate about her ...more
Lyn Liao Butler
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and really identified with it. The way Asha felt when she found out she was adopted and how the author kept us guessing as to who is who in the book. I had to keep reading, wanting to find out how all the women were related and had to do with each other. I really liked the way the story came together and you finally understand the complicated relationships between all the mothers and daughters portrayed in this book. It's sad, but it's so touching and really makes you feel for ...more
Kate Lansing
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story centers around the relationships and secrets of women. It follows Nandini, Asha, Veena, and Mala, who are each trying to make sense of events in their liveslearning youre adopted, the loss of a life partner, and the grief following the death of a parent. The way these women are connected is at the heart of this book, and was enthralling to read. Beautifully written, and both heart-wrenching and hopeful, this debut is not to be missed! ...more
Saumya Dave
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a stunning book. From the gorgeous prose to the complex characters, this story captivated me from the beginning to end. I love stories about the bonds that tie women together and Kushwaha navigates everything from insecurity to fear to love with so much empathy. Its so difficult for me to find reads by and about women of color and Im so thrilled to be able to recommend this beautiful read to the readers in my life. So many will be moved by and relate to the women in this novel. ...more
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Anita Kushwaha grew up in Aylmer, Quebec. Her road to publication included a fulfilling career in academia, where she studied human geography at Carleton University and earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. She is also a graduate of the Humber School for Writers creative writing program, a member of the Canadian Authors Association and the Women's Fiction Writers Association, and the recipient of a Literary ...more

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