I received a free copy of A House for Happy Mothers for my honest review from TLC Book Tours.
About the Book:
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (June 1, 2016)
A stunning new novel—full of wit and warmth—from the bestselling author of The Mango Season.
In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs—a loving husband, a career, and a home—but the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much—raising two children in a tiny hut, she and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads—but she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset—her womb—to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.
Together, the two women discover the best and the worst that India’s rising surrogacy industry has to offer, bridging continents and cultures to bring a new life into the world—and renewed hope to each other.
About the Author:
Amulya Malladi is the author of six novels, including The Sound of Language and The Mango Season. Her books have been translated into several languages, including Dutch, German, Spanish, Danish, Romanian, Serbian, and Tamil. She has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in journalism. When she’s not writing, she works as a marketing executive for a global medical device company. She lives in Copenhagen with her husband and two children.
Connect with Amulya
There are so many underlying themes in this book from the desire to have a baby, family dynamics, the economics of the poor, the ethics of surrogacy and privilege. The heart of the story belongs to Priya who desperately wants a baby. She has been trying and trying; she’s suffered several miscarriages and failed IVF treatments. She is OVERWHELMED with wanting to have a baby. Her husband supports her but he’d be fine with or without and it’s leading to strains in their marriage. Priya learns of a program where underprivileged women in India will act as surrogates and she sees this as the answer to her prayers. Others around her aren’t so sure.
Asha is a poor woman in India with two children. Her son is academically advanced and he is completely bored in his current school but she and her husband cannot afford to send him to a better school. Her husband wants out of the tiny village where they live and into the city. He encourages her to become a surrogate for the money – to him it’s no big deal. Then they can buy a flat and he can find a better job. He gives absolutely NO consideration to the emotional toll it will take on her. He also does not think spending the money on their son’s education should be a priority. He is more concerned with his ego.
The House for Happy Mothers is where Priya’s world and Asha’s worlds come together and each woman learns that what they thought about the other’s life is not necessarily true. Nor is the house full of happy mothers.
This was a very interesting book for so many reasons. It is so far off of my radar for reading genre and in regards to my life in general but something about it intrigued me. I’m glad I took the chance on it. It’s not perfect, I think it could have goon even deeper into some of the issues – but perhaps the author chose not to intentionally. It could be she wanted to leave the book on the lighter side. Is it ok for a rich woman to pay a poor woman to carry her child? Is it exploitation or is it helping that woman climb out of poverty? In a patriarchal society is the woman really making the decision or is she being pressured into it by a husband? Lots of very interesting questions arise.
The book is well written. Most characters are well developed and the storyline was fascinating to me. I’ve never had that baby lust that drives the plot but I was still turning the pages to see how everything played out. It’s a book that makes you think and I was still thinking long after I had turned the last page.
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