Secret Daughter & The Painted Girls

Book Pairing

Secret Daughter    The Painted Girls

In the spirit of the holidays, I chose books that deal with family issues or bonding.  Though these two novels are set in a different time and place, they can be compared when it comes to the theme of forgiveness and acceptance of family members.  There are also adoptive parents or parent figures who “stand in” for the biological parents who are absent.  In the first story, Asha is sent to an orphanage in India when she is just a baby because her father only wants a son.  An American couple end up adopting her, where her adoptive father is of Indain descent, so she gets a chance to visit her birth place.  The trip creates a lot of tension between Asha and her adoptive mom, who is a doctor and is not able to have any children of her own.  A healing process in their realtionship is vital and it is acheived when both finally accept their situation in life.  Meanwhile, in the second tale, three sisters in Paris strive to make a living when their mother ignores their needs and gets drunk on the money she does make.  The oldest daughter, Antoinette, has to step in and become the maternal figure they all desperately need but not without some hiccups.  Antoinette gets into trouble and risks losing the respect of her sister, Marie.  Marie is set to be a rising star in the next ballet performance but her body is being used by a wealthy man who is paying for her admission in the dance school.  Their sisterhood is tested but their bond is stronger than they realize.  The characters in their respective stories need to forgive, forget and love whoever ends up supporting them.  The girls in each title learn something about themselves as well.  It seems to me that the main moral for these two novels is to never take for granted the family that you do have (whether they are blood-related or not).  It is because of this realization that both end quite beautifully, I think.

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