Review: A House for Happy Mothers, by Amulya Malladi

About the book,  A House for Happy Mothers A House for Happy Mothers

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • 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.

Buy, read, and discuss this book.

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About the author, Amulya Malladi Amulya Malladi

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

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

My Thoughts Melissa A. Bartell

It’s kind of ironic, I guess, that I, a woman who has had more than one miscarriage read this book 1) over Mother’s Day weekend, and 2) finished it the day I heard that a celebrity and former high school classmate, a woman who is 40 days older than I am, announced that she’s pregnant. (I’ll be 46 in August. I don’t mind. I still get carded.)

If anything, those two facts only made this book resonate with me more.

A House for Happy Mothers is a lovely book about a sensitive subject. How far would we women who cannot conceive, or cannot carry a child to term, go to have a child of our own? What is the cost to ourselves, our families, the women from whom we essentially rent wombs? Is it worth it in the end.

I have a friend who actually is a surrogate; she’s carried and given birth to two babies for the same gay couple over the years, giving them a way to have biological children of their own. (I’m not sure if she also donated her eggs. She may have. This book didn’t go that far, but it easily could have.)

Priya and her husband reminded me of many of the couples I used to do loans for when I lived in San Jose. She is American-born. He is not. Their marriage is strong, and they love each other, but there are some cultural gaps they must work through. I really liked Priya. Her struggles to have a child, her decision to use a surrogate, and her insistence on having a connection with the woman who would bear her child weren’t limited to her culture but could be true of any woman,  and her grace through it all was quite inspiring me.

Likewise, I felt for Asha, who chose to sell her body in a way that wasn’t illegal or immoral, but was a true gift of self, even if there was compensation. The closest I can come to fathoming how it feels to be a surrogate is the way I feel when I turn a foster dog over to his or her forever family. In telling Asha’s story, author Amulya Malladi completely captured the beauty and the heartache of what some women can do, and she did it in a way that made everything feel completely truthful.

Malladi’s story is, of course, a novel, but it’s one that lets us glimpse perfectly plausible situations, through the eyes of two incredibly strong (each in their own ways) women, who could easily be people we see at the market, or at the library, or anywhere in town. Similarly, the families of this women are not caricatures, as they might have been in less caring, less deft hands, but real people with quirks and flaws to give them depth and dimension.

It’s a lovely book, thought provoking, and heartfelt, and oh so moving.

Goes well with mango tea and something slightly sweet to go with it. Almond cookies, maybe?

Giveaway A House for Happy Mothers

One lucky reader in the United States or Canada will win a paperback copy of this book. To enter, find me on Twitter (@Melysse), follow me, and retweet my tweet about this book review OR leave a comment here (you must use a valid email address) and tell me about a selfless act that you’ve committed. 

The winner will be chosen by me, and their information will be forwarded to the tour host/publicist for fulfillment. This may take up to six weeks after the day of the end of this blog tour.

This giveaway opportunity is open until noon, central time, on Sunday, June 19th. 

Amulya Malladi’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS: TLC Book Tours

Thursday, May 26th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Friday, May 27th: Broken Teepee

Monday, May 30th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, June 1st: Kahakai Kitchen

Wednesday, June 1st: Chick Lit Central – spotlight/giveaway

Thursday, June 2nd: Mom’s Small Victories

Monday, June 6th: Bibliotica

Tuesday, June 7th: 5 Minutes for Books

Wednesday, June 8th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Thursday, June 9th: Luxury Reading

Friday, June 10th: A Splendid Messy Life

Monday, June 13th: Lavish Bookshelf

Tuesday, June 14th: Kritter’s Ramblings

Wednesday, June 15th: The Reading Date

Thursday, June 16th: Lit and Life

Friday, June 17th: Books a la Mode – guest post/giveaway

Monday, June 20th: BookNAround

Tuesday, June 21st: Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, June 23rd: Good Girl Gone Redneck

Monday, June 27th: Worth Getting in Bed For