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The author of the highly praised Secret Daughter has written another contemporary international tale. InThe Golden Son, Shilpi Gowda weaves the stories of two childhood friends, Anil and Leena. They are born in the same rural town and spend their early years just a field apart from each other, blissfully unaware that much more separates them. By the time they are young teens, they feel the strain of the true distance between their two households as the caste system, education, and financial differences lead them down different paths.

Anil’s privilege takes him to the United States, where he pursues a medical career. Anil’s love for the profession and his innate ability to care for people come under pressure as he adjusts to a strange culture. Meanwhile Leena’s family is pleased to give her in marriage to a man whose family will provide for her and her children.

The story moves easily from India to the U.S. and back again, and the reader can all but taste the flavors and savor the aromas. Family loyalty, traditions, and expectations are tested in a novel that is hopeful even as it is heartbreaking. (William Morrow)

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