The power to change another person's life can be a great responsibility or a terrible burden. 
For Anil Patel, it will be both.

Anil is the cherished son of a large family in rural India. As the eldest boy, he is expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes, dispensing wisdom and good advice. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain they inhabit and her close-knit family. As childhood friends, they are inseparable until their paths diverge.

Anil is the first person in his family to leave India, the first to attend college, the first to become a doctor, half a world away in Dallas, Texas. At home, Leena dreams of marriage, and leaves her beloved home to join her new husband’s family in a distant village.When they rekindle their friendship as adults, it is complicated by a fateful decision made years earlier. As the two old friends discover each other again, they must also weigh the choice between responsibility and freedom, and between loyalty and love.

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"A stellar follow-up to Gowda's excellent debut. Vivid, heart-warming and absorbing, THE GOLDEN SON succeeds as an immigrant's tale and love story wrapped into one because of the beautiful writing and compelling characters that illuminate universal truths of loss and identity." — Heidi Durrow, New York Times bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY

"THE GOLDEN SON swings back and forth across the world with easeful dexterity, pulling us deep into the lives of two protagonists who are as different as can be, and yet strangely similar. Shilpi Somaya Gowda's great achievement is this: she makes each locale she depicts fascinating and true and original; she makes each character she draws so heartbreakingly vibrant that even after we finish reading we can't forget them.— Chitra Divakaruni, author of MISTRESS OF SPICES and OLEANDER GIRL

"Shilpi Somaya Gowda is as adept at crafting disparate, fully realized worlds—a village in India, a medical school in Texas—as she is at creating compelling characters. I ached and cheered for Leena and Anil, as they struggle to live lives of their own choosing amidst the demands of tradition and the sometimes beautiful, sometimes painful bonds of family." — Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling author of BELONG TO ME and THE PRECIOUS ONE

"At turns harrowing and uplifting, THE GOLDEN SON is an international tale of two childhood friends grappling with parental and cultural expectations as they embark on journeys of self-discovery. Compulsively readable and inspiring, Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s latest novel explores questions of responsibility and independence while offering a fascinating glimpse into rural life in India and medical residency in Dallas." — Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of THE PAINTED GIRLS

"Shilpi Somaya Gowda paints an illuminating portrait of a young Indian man who must learn to reconcile his career ambitions in America with the traditional values and expectations of his family in India. Compellingly written, THE GOLDEN SON will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.— Vanessa Diffenbaugh, New York Times bestselling author of THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS

"From a poor village in India, to the journey of a boy who escapes to become a brilliant and sensible doctor at a high-tech medical center in Dallas, Shilpi Gowda's sweeping love story is meticulous in its detail, heartfelt — and a great read." — Samuel Shem, M.D., author of THE HOUSE OF GOD


"Rich plotting and finely embroidered storytelling ... Gowda keeps her readers tethered to compelling, universal human themes ... A subtly drawn book, brimming with ambiguities ... “The Golden Son” triumphs because of its many pleasures and complications: romantic intrigues, family vendettas, unexpected tragedies and criminal secrets harbored by characters in both India and America. This satisfying immersion in two complicated cultures offers no easy resolutions. Gowda displays once again that, although she’s writing what she knows, her stories are hardly predictable." Washington Post

"A heartfelt look at the nature of love, family, and the consequences of choice. ... Gowda masterfully develops place and characters with visual richness. She offers delicious storytelling ... The Golden Son is an absolute page-turner. ... The emotional journey of the characters is bound elicit both laughter and tears."  — Washington Independent Review of Books

"Gowda has mastered a novel about traditional versus modernism, family and love versus the attainment of success and the battle that one must take place both internally and externally in order to find happiness. Anyone who has dealt with dreams and fitting in will connect to this book immediately. None of the characters end up where they thought they would, but the reader will be entertained and satisfied, nonetheless." — Portland Book Review

"...Complex and refined. ... powerful ... compelling. Gowda has the writerly chops when it comes to pace and plot that keep a reader engaged..." —  Toronto Star

"A sensitive and intelligent work ... [with a] finely drawn protagonist. ... Illuminating her characters’ exterior and interior lives remains Gowda’s greatest narrative strength.... demonstrates Gowda’s abilities as a sympathetic observer of heart and mind." National Post

"The Golden Son is also a page-turner. Gowda is a gifted storyteller, bringing together various related story strands into a fully integrated whole. ...In The Golden Son, Gowda has created another well-crafted and interesting story. Readers who enjoyed The Secret Daughter  will definitely enjoy The Golden Son." Vancouver Sun

"The Golden Son successfully achieves the virtually impossible: it is every bit as good and strong as ... Secret Daughter. ...Both tell compelling stories that make each book a page-turner and a fast read. Both are extremely well-written with riveting plots. ... Gowda's characters are beautifully and subtly drawn.... It was five years in the making and well worth the wait." — Winnipeg Free Press

"Gowda can write up moments that break your heart ...  The Golden Son combines the immigrant novel with a fascination for the insecure and dependent lives of rural women in India. The book does not finish with the most predictable ending, but a version of happily ever after does take place. And yes, it evoked a few tears, too." Globe & Mail

"...Like Gowda's bestselling debut novel, Secret Daughter, this new book offers readers vivid cultural immersion. ...  the journey [is] deeply pleasurable." Publishers Weekly

"Her richly and forthrightly told new book is about a boy and a girl from India who remain connected though they eventually live continents apart.  ... The details are truly told, and fans of family-centered saga will enjoy." — Library Journal

"Gowda is a masterful storyteller, blending the complexities of her rich characterizations with descriptive passages that bring all of the worlds she creates to life." — RT Book Reviews

"[Gowda] is a consummate storyteller, her characters alive and vibrant, her narrative so fast-flowing and gripping that the book is hard to put down. ... the author keeps the story fluid, coherent. There is an interesting and not always predictable play of emotions and morals here, of shades of grey rather than black and white. ... Gowda shows a fine understanding of what it means to be human." — New Indian Express

"[An] engrossing saga of anguish and fortitude..." The Man (Monthly), New Delhi, India

"Gowda has paid attention to minute details in creating her fictional landscape ... she crafts her characters unfailingly ... her language and attention to detail is flawless." India Tribune

"The Golden Son is one of those books with endearing characters that compel you to keep reading ... A story of identity, belonging, love, and family are woven gracefully together through the craft of Gowda’s writing. Each character becomes a part of you, as you latch yourself onto their stories, listening, feeling, and never wanting to let go."— Femina Magazine (India)


  • Winner of the French literary prize Prix des Lyceens Folio

  • Target Book Club Pick for December 2016

  • Costco Canada Buyers’ Pick

  • USA Today bestseller list

  • #1 on the Canadian Fiction bestseller list in both of Canada's national newspapers (Globe & Mail and Toronto Star)