Author: Shobhan Bantwal
ISBN: 13:978-0-7582-3203-8 ISBN:10:0-7582-3203-9
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The Unexpected Son's imagery grabs the reader's attention from the very first page. With her impeccable vocabulary, Shobhan Bantwal is a magical storyteller. The characters are so tangible that you miss them when you finish reading The Unexpected Son.

Giving the story an authentic flavor are Chai (spice milk tea from India), the spicy foods she describes and the insertion of Indian words. Her depictions of the strife between two warring factions in her village add a suspenseful background to the story.

In the first chapter we meet Vinita Patil, a happy, settled down Indian woman living in New Jersey with her husband and her young daughter. She is flabbergasted, after reading an anonymous letter from India telling her that her "son" whom she thought was stillborn, needs a bone marrow transplant in her native village.

Vinita, who had kept her past secret from her husband, unleashes his fury when he finds out. She departs for Palgram, India, her hometown, in order to help save her son, who was adopted without her knowledge. She is furious with her brother Visham and her mother, who had kept the adoption a secret for 30 years.

The author takes us back in time and recounts with heartbreaking details the ill- fated circumstances of her son's birth out of wedlock. Vinita had fallen in love with a selfish Don Juan, who was only playing with her heart. Unfortunately, she becomes pregnant and her lover does not want to be burdened. He cannot marry her since, he was promised to his cousin and moreover, he did not love her. Afraid for her reputation, her parents and brother are scandalized and would like her to give away her baby. The stigma of an unwed mother splatter her family in this ultra conservative society. They con her into believing that the baby is still born and they give him up for adoption to a good family. Vinita sizzles with fury and regret, and worries that her marriage is on the brink of collapse because of her illicit past.

Back to the present, Vinita finally meets her long lost son, but he is sick and needs a bone marrow transplant. Is Vinita a good match? Will a surprise ending let you cry for joy or sadness? I promise, you will not put down this novel until the very last word.

Shobhan Bantwal. is a late bloomer in writing.  She was born in India to a large and conservative family. She had an arranged marriage to a man who happened to live in the U S and brought her to New Jersey several years ago. After giving birth to a daughter, she continued her studies until she obtained a second master's degree in Public Administration from Rider University. She started working for a government agency where she continues to work. Until she was in her fifties, she never thought she could write.

The Unexpected Son is her fourth novel in a very short span of time. She continues to write about her favorite subject:  women's issues in a conservative society. She likes to teach about her own exotic culture and she definitely entertains the readers with romance, mystery, sadness and humor.  She sure gave us something to sink our teeth into in The Unexpected Son.

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