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Reviewed by Bethany Kelly

A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi tells both sides of a unique story: the story of surrogacy.

Priya and Madhu have been trying for a baby for years, but after three miscarriages and no luck with IVF, they are ready to give up on their dream of having a child of their own flesh and blood. However, when Priya is introduced to the concept of having a surrogate carry their baby, she is hooked. Seeing adoption as their last option, she and Madhu begin the process of finding a surrogacy center. When they happen upon Happy Mothers, an Indian surrogate house, they decide to go that route.

Asha and her husband, Pratap, have two children and can barely afford to keep living in their one room hut and buy food for their family. When they learn that their son, Manoj is intellectually gifted, they have no idea how they will be able to afford putting him in a school for gifted children. However, when Pratap’s sister tells them of Happy Mothers, they decide that Asha will become a surrogate.

After Happy Mothers brings the two women together, Priya and Asha must put their faith and trust in one another in order to survive the emotional toll that the surrogate process puts on both of them.

I was intrigued with the subject matter of this book from the moment that I read the synopsis, and the story within did not disappoint. Through the perspectives of both Priya and Asha, we get to see both sides of surrogacy. We get to see and feel how Priya feels about not being able to carry a child to term, and how Asha feels about having to outsource her womb to complete strangers. This emotional novel shows the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Malladi does a fantastic job with character development in this novel. When I was reading Priya’s sections of the novel, I could feel her emotions. I laughed with her; I cried with her. In Asha’s sections, I felt her anger and her hope. As I read, I went through every emotion imaginable–that is how good of a writer Malladi is.

If I had one complaint, it would be about the ending. Although there was an ending, – one that didn’t leave anything left unexplained – I still wanted more. I wanted to know more about what happened with Asha, Priya and their families after the book was over. I would definitely be interested in reading a sequel to this novel, if Malladi ever decided to write one. All in all, this is a very good book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.


Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking. Check out her website at www.bckwritingcorner.com.

Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Lake Union Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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