A House for Happy Mothers
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
Review: I think this would be a very interesting book to discuss with a book club. One of the themes throughout the book is whether surrogacy takes advantage of poor people or provides them with an opportunity for a better life, and I could see this topic leading to an in-depth conversation. After reading the book, my opinion is that it does both, although I would have liked to hear Asha's thoughts a year or two after the book ended.
Asha's character felt the most true-to-life, with her concern for her two children's lives and education, her worries about pregnancy, her attitude towards her husband, and her reluctance to bond with Priya. I found myself annoyed with overly-hysterical Priya, and confused about the inclusion of snippets from her surrogacy board.
I wish that the book had continued past the rather abrupt ending.
Rating: 4 stars