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The Unexpected Son

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  587 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
What happens when a woman who's realized her dreams wakes up to a shocking truth? Shobhan Bantwal's poignant new novel weaves a captivating tale of one woman's return to India: the place where she lost everything--and now has everything to gain. . .

It is a morning like any other in suburban New Jersey when Vinita Patil opens the battered envelope postmarked "Mumbai." But t

Kindle Edition, 337 pages
Published (first published July 27th 2010)
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Pamela Kramer
Jun 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Unexpected Son, due to be released in August, 2010, delves deeply into the Indian/ HIndu culture. In this, her fourth novel, Bantwal takes us to Palgaum, perhaps a town based on Belguam, her hometown.

Unlike the previous books, in The Unexpected Son the reader learns about politics and prejudice in India. In the town of Palgaum, rival cultures battle for power causing riots, mayhem and real danger to the citizens of the town. Each group, the Kannada and the Marathi, believe that the town shou
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So this book was okay. I liked the basic story. I wouldn't recommend against reading the book. But I wouldn't get all excited recommending the book to anyone either. I am not a fan of the end of the book. It felt unfinished. It needed an epilogue, or all of the main characters coming together. Instead it felt a chapter short. And the quality of the writing, while not bad, wasn't exactly good either. Right now I'm reading a Thrity Umrigar (sp?) book and you can *immediately* feel the difference i ...more
Winnie L.

Novel review

This report I am writing is for Ms. Orona, my English IV teacher. The book I am currently reading is “The Unexpected Son” by Shobhan Bantwal. This book is 326 pages long and its publishers are the Kensington Publishing Corp. I decided to read this book because I have always liked to read stories that are from other countries because the authors of such books have a different perspective of things than authors of my home place due to the fact that they grew up in an entirely different
Suzanne (Chick with Books) Yester
Shobhan is such a wonderful storyteller! She creates amazingly realistic characters, wonderful rich complicated stories that touch the reader in so many ways. The Unexpected Son does not disappoint on any of these levels! The story is rich with Indian culture, the voice of a young girls heart, and a mothers sense of duty...

Oh the foolishness of youth. But oh, what a wonderful story! Imagine holding onto a secret for 30 years only to find out you were not the only one holding onto a secret. When
Feb 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an easy read and is something of a page-turner if you're in the right frame of mind. (That is, too tired or sick to read a book that makes you think, but want something more than sudoku). I enjoyed it, especially the fact that it was set in a place with which I was somewhat unfamiliar - Belgaum (Palgaum), India. It's about a woman who, 30 years after giving birth to a still-born, illegitimate child, finds out that her child was/is actually alive. If you're thinking that this is a plot th ...more
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Okay while this was borderline cliche, it had a number of things I liked, that fell in two categories: for one, there was a sense of realness in the story line and two, the characters were relateable.

My only problem was the cliffhanger ending.. Does her son live or not?!
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a morning like any other in suburban New Jersey when Vinita Patil opens the bettered envelope marked "Mumbai." But the letter inside turns her comfortable world upside down. It tells Vinita an impossible story: she has grown son in India whose life may depend on her.
Once upon a time, a naive young college girl fell in love with a wealthy boy whose primary interests were cricket and womanizing. Vinita knew, even then, that a secret affair with a man whose language and values were different
Settled in New Jersey with her husband and daughter, when 50-year old Vinita receives a “typically Indian looking” letter from Mumbai, little did she know that her life was going to change. Upon reading the letter, she is catapulted into her past. A past she had left behind with great difficulty, and moved on.

19-year old Vinita was the ideal daughter that every parent wished for. She was brilliant in her studies, topped each year, was obedient and had bright plans for her future. But when the co
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Unexpected Son by Shobhan Bantwal is the story of an Indian girl from brought up with traditional Indian values.

Vinita Shelke, 19, is the topper of her class in Shivraj College, Palgaum, Karnataka. Her father is an accountant and her mother, a pious, traditional housewife. Her elder brother, Vishal, is a chartered accountant who works in Bombay. She learns Bharatnatyam and Prema is her best friend.
Somesh Kori, a rich landlord’s son, is the college heart throb and the captain of the co
Aug 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debbie by:
I first saw this book on S. Krishna's Books and the cover immediately caught my eye. I've been making an effort to read outside of my comfort zone and this sounded like a great book to start off with. It was a wonderful read and gave an interesting glimpse into a culture that was pretty foreign to me. The story premise was immediately intriguing as a mother myself I cannot imagine going through 30 years of your life not knowing that you had a son and then to find out he is dying. It was shocking ...more
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vinita Patil left Mumbai, India a long time ago. She is happily married now and has a daughter. They live in America. Vinita didn’t really leave India on good terms. So she could not imagine why someone would be sending her a letter from Mumbai. The letter says that Vinita’s son, Rohit has Myeloid leukemia and needs a donor. First it is a shock that Vinita’s son has Myeloid leukemia but the bigger surprise is that Vinita didn’t know that she had a son.

Vinita had just finished dancing at the col
Sep 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s, indian
My review from my blog Rundpinne...[return]....Stunningly beautiful, The Unexpected Son by Shobhan Bantwal is a story of family honor, deceit, and forgiveness. The top student in her University class, Vinita had a plan for her life until Somesh Kori enters her life. Som is a rake in every sense of the word, but Vini is young and her emotions took over and she suffered terribly for her mistake. Thirty years pass, Vini is now living in America with her husband Girish and daughter Arya when a myste ...more
Jenee Rager
This was one of the few times that I've read a book and been able to say exactly what I didn't like about it. The author is talented, and the story does flow well. However I grew very agitated by the fact she kept referring to Vinita and Sol as "real" parents instead of birth parents or biological parents. Every time it happened I got more irritated and just wanted to scream at whoever was saying it that "real" parents are the ones who raise a child, who stay up all night with the child when the ...more
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the best book I've read this summer. A woman who grew up in India finds out that her illegitimate son was not stillborn and that her family hid that fact from her. He is now an adult with leukemia and she returns to India from the United States to help him. Well written book that incorporates local customs and political unrest throughout the story. Several interesting twists and turns draw the characters - past and present - into their lives and the local unrest. The story also does a g ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-dream-of-india
The Unexpected Son By Shobhan Bantwal Vinita is an extremely intelligent polite behaved girl attending college in her home town in India. For the very first time in her life she breaks the rules and changes her life and her families destiny forever. Thirty years later Vinita receives a letter at her quiet home in New Jersey and all of her secrets and misgivings come back to turn her life upside down. Vinita is a strong, independent woman and a most likeable character. The novel takes place in a ...more
Cherie Reeves
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books
Between a 3.5 and 4, probably closer to 4. I've always been fascinated by other cultures, their customs and beliefs. I liked this story as it gave a glimpse into the Indian culture. Imagine a teenage Indian girl, studious, sheltered, serious, and by her assessment, plain looking. The most popular guy in school notices her. She eventually falls for him hard. The outcome is inevitable, she's young and pregnant. This is a major transgression in the Indian culture, she has brought shame to her entir ...more
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read, great story and flow but I can't say its not a story that I haven't heard before. The ending left me with too many questions... but that's how it is in real life... you never really get the whole story. All in all I enjoyed it.

I especially like how real Vinita is. She is not the typical humble, self sacrificial, sensible heroine... for all her smarts she can be irrational, quick to emotion and judgement, one sided in her view of situations, but extremely passionate and determined, c
Aug 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a big fan of stories surrounding older people but it was still interesting as to the way it was told. I was more captivated by the beginning of the story and the background. It was told through the eyes of a woman who a lot of others can relate to. She continued to do something even though she knew it was wrong. But she lived her life and learned to overcome her mistake. The end didn't satisfy me as i thought it would but it gave me an insight as to how an older couple can still have common ...more
Feb 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of an Indian woman, Vinita, who has child out of wedlock. She has plans to keep him, but is told that he died at birth. She goes on to a new life in the United States where she has a career, a strong marriage and a daughter. Years later, Vinita gets a strange letter saying the son actually survived and now has cancer. She runs off to India hoping to be a bone marrow match and confronts the characters of her past. The book is a fast read. The small plot twist is not too surprising and t ...more
Jamie Pfammatter
This was a wonderful surprise! I grabbed it when it was on the new book shelf at the library and I'm glad I did. Well written, good character development for the most part, attention holding plot formation & some great insight into Indian culture rolled into one! My only complaint was the ending did not feel completely formed and I felt something (perhaps an answer to the question of a certain outcome) was missing. Would recommend to those who like a book with a little more substance and enj ...more
Nishant Jha
This is Shobhan Bantwal's 3rd Book I have read and I have liked all of them! her easy and no-nonsense style of writing has got me hooked! This book explores a lot of dimensions...Mother-Son, Sister-Brother, Mother-Daughter and Husband-Wife relationships in the backdrop of regional tensions and a medical emergency! and all of them have been interwoven very delicately...The way Shobhan develops her characters is very brilliant indeed! I definitely recommend this to all relationship-genre fans!
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story of love, loss and reconciliation. An Indian girl from a strict family falls for a gigilo and ends up pregnant. the parents send her away to live with her older brother until the baby is born. She is told the baby died at birth because it was such a long and difficult labor. Years later she finds out her son was adopted but had a rare genetic problem. she meets her son, who holds much resentment but in working with his adopted family and the real father is able to help him.
Jun 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have, international
Really enjoyed this book. The only thing that I disliked is that I felt like I was reading an Indian book written by an American (though the author is Originally from India). That probably is due to the fact that I recently finished the latest Vish Puri mystery (by Tarquin Hall) in which the characters speak in more of an Indian/British dialect.

It is hard to understand the whole culture of arranged marriages so I enjoyed a small glimpse into this culture.
D Carr
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Besides for the cover of this book (which I absolutely loved) I enjoyed this story greatly! In my opinion, it had everything that a good (life) story should have. Young love. Foolishness. Regret. Shame and family honor.

I also liked the fact that it was a story of healing and redemption. No. The most selfish character stayed that way but other ones were willing to live, forgive and love again.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a good, realistic tale.
Laura Edwards
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I didn't really like the writing style, but I will say that Ms. Bantwal is not writing in her native tongue. I would have liked to seen the difference if she wrote the story originally in her native language and used a translator. Also, the prologue was completely unneeded. I think the plot might have been more effective if the reader finds out what was revealed in the prologue in real time instead. And I completely guessed the ending. Don't know why Vinita was so blind.
Jun 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant, unmarried college student in India becomes pregnant and believes the child is stillborn. Many years later, she is married to a man who does not know her past and living in the U.S. and receives an unsigned letter telling her the child is not only alive but suffering from leukemia. Although a well told story, it was not a page turner and had a HEA ending. An easy C+.
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What would you do if you found out the illegitmate son you thought died it birth 30 years ago was in fact alive and dying from cancer?
The main character of the book needs to grapple with this problem.

The story covers both the circumstances that lead to the birth of the child as well as the current day story. Good glimpse into the Indian culture and politics.
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expected much more when I saw the synopsis of the book but it ended up feeling like an average Indian movie with an average cast. There's some drama, some emotion, and all of this weaves through a simple story. Not a must-read but good to go through if you don't have anything more exciting waiting to be read.
Kathy Chung
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian
a friend recommended this book to me.

For me it was awesome.

Very rich in the Indian culture. I didnt know that there are crashes between the two caste till I read this book. What I knew was higher caste usually looked down one the ower but this book was a eye opening experince for me . will look out for more books from this author to read
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Shobhan Bantwal is the Indian-American author of THE DOWRY BRIDE, her debut novel set in India and slated for release by Kensington Books in September 2007. It is the first of a two-book contract with Kensington.

Since 2002, Shobhan's articles and short stories have appeared in a variety of publications like India Abroad, Little India, U.S. 1, Desi Journal, India Currents, Overseas Indian, New Wom
More about Shobhan Bantwal...