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The Henna Artist

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Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel. Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becom Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel. Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own… Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.


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Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel. Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becom Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel. Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own… Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.

30 review for The Henna Artist

  1. 4 out of 5

    Smitha Murthy

    Update Dec 2021: This little note of mine on my experience with this book seems to have taken off in ways I never intended. To everyone who writes to me, please note that this is not a review. It's one person's very personal observation, and will never reflect anyone else's opinions about this book. Please read or support the author in other ways. But also, please allow the reader to have their say. That's what books should be. We read. We love the words. We love to talk about the experience. An Update Dec 2021: This little note of mine on my experience with this book seems to have taken off in ways I never intended. To everyone who writes to me, please note that this is not a review. It's one person's very personal observation, and will never reflect anyone else's opinions about this book. Please read or support the author in other ways. But also, please allow the reader to have their say. That's what books should be. We read. We love the words. We love to talk about the experience. Anything as stuffy as a 'review' is not what I intended with this note. It shouldn't stop you from reading this book, although I respect the choices we make when doing so. I have enjoyed the lovely comments, and even more so, from the ones who loved the book. I can only wish you joyful reading experiences - let's read them all, yo! -------------------------------------------------------- I have done this again. Not really fallen for a book that everyone seems to be raving about. But see - I am from South India. We don’t really go around applying henna for fun, on occasions, to get pregnant or arouse desire in our spouses. The art of henna itself is far removed from my life. That’s not why I struggled with this book. It’s just that I have a feeling this book is written for that white woman who finds India ‘exotic’ and swoons at its ‘spirituality.’ It’s not written for the Indian audience who knows that India is also the nation of 10,000 startups, sleek bustling offices, and more technology than you can dream of. Show me that book now coming from the US! But it won’t sell. We have to show India with its drains of sewage, the Maharanis and their glittering lifestyles, and the prostitution. No wonder the West laps it up. I found the narrator, Lakshmi Shastri, a henna artist who reads Dickens and Jane Austen, rather unbelievable. Her explanations on what Indians do and don’t do seem written for that white woman audience. She has a sister who I would have thrown out if it were me, so annoying is she. The one saving grace is that Lakshmi is a self-made woman who leaves her husband, sleeps with her client’s husband, then gets irritated when the client gets upset (!), and is quite the nod to American individualism. Overall, I was annoyed with the book. But don’t take it as a rating for the book. It’s a reflection of my affair with the book. When it comes to books, I sleep around a lot with them. This affair didn’t last well or long. Pros: The prose flows. Beautifully written and engrossing. A unique setting of post-Independence India just finding its feet.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

    I don't get the opportunity to travel much anymore so I kinda have to rely on books to take me to places I might not get the chance to ever visit. I've read a few fiction books with India as the setting and what first caught my interest about this one is it takes place in the 1950s. The author did a phenomenal job in making me feel like I was transported to this time and country and the main character, Lakshmi, is someone worth getting to know in my opinion. Very glad I got the chance to read th I don't get the opportunity to travel much anymore so I kinda have to rely on books to take me to places I might not get the chance to ever visit. I've read a few fiction books with India as the setting and what first caught my interest about this one is it takes place in the 1950s. The author did a phenomenal job in making me feel like I was transported to this time and country and the main character, Lakshmi, is someone worth getting to know in my opinion. Very glad I got the chance to read this one. At the age of seventeen, Lakshmi escaped her abusive marriage and headed to the city of Jaipur. She's worked hard as a henna artist for quite a few years. She's developed quite the reputation among her wealthy clients with her artistry and has managed to scrimp and save enough money to own a home. Work still needs to be completed on the house and that means Lakshmi must keep on working to pay off her debts. Her husband tracks Lakshmi down and brings with him quite the surprise, Radha, a thirteen year old girl who is the sister Lakshmi never knew she had. The new and better life Lakshmi worked so hard for threatens to come crashing down with this new development. First of all, I admit I was a bit worried when I started the book and saw there was a section for the cast of characters. Usually that indicates there are going to be so many characters it can be confusing to the reader and therefore you need a cheat sheet. However, other than a few names here and there, I didn't even find myself flipping back and forth as it was pretty easy to keep everyone straight in my mind. On a related note, the glossary of terms in the back for different Indian words and phrases was pretty helpful. Within the story, italics were used for the different words that appeared in the glossary. Lakshmi is one of the more stronger female characters I have come across in my reading recently. I thought she was a character who was very easy to root for and I felt bad when it seemed like so many things beyond her control were causing problems in her life. I thought Lakshmi's non-henna work enhanced an already rich and layered story. There's so much here for a book club discussion as you have such things as the different social classes in India, differences in Western medicine and herbal remedies, women's roles in society in 1950s India, etc.. I really hope this book finds a large audience as I found it to be a worthwhile read. I won a free advance copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    i really enjoyed this, but once i read the authors note at the end, it made the book that much more meaningful. this story is an imagining of the life AJs mother could have lived, had she not entered an arranged marriage when she was a teenager. its a tale of perseverance, history, self-worth, forgiveness, womanhood, and family. lakshmi is also a character worth reading about. i adored her hard work ethic and her determination to create the life she knows she deserves. she made is very easy for i really enjoyed this, but once i read the authors note at the end, it made the book that much more meaningful. this story is an imagining of the life AJs mother could have lived, had she not entered an arranged marriage when she was a teenager. its a tale of perseverance, history, self-worth, forgiveness, womanhood, and family. lakshmi is also a character worth reading about. i adored her hard work ethic and her determination to create the life she knows she deserves. she made is very easy for me to root for her the entire way. but i will say i wish there was more about henna in this. i would have loved to read more about the tradition of henna, what the art means, and the background of it all. while doing henna is lakshmis job, its really only brought up as a way to explain how she meets people/makes money. i just thought there would be more of it considering the title, but it honestly didnt feel like a main focus in the story at all. regardless, this is a wonderful historical fiction novel that will immediately carry to you to india in the 1950s. ↠ 4 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alex Black

    This whole book felt a little surface level. As much as I was curious about the story and where it would go, I never cared about the characters or felt invested in their lives. I always wanted more from the story and it felt liked it only scratched the surface of the emotions it could have had. My favorite part of the story was Lakshmi's job, her role as Henna artist and abortionist, and how she helped people. I loved seeing the insight into the lives of the rich and how her Henna helped them as This whole book felt a little surface level. As much as I was curious about the story and where it would go, I never cared about the characters or felt invested in their lives. I always wanted more from the story and it felt liked it only scratched the surface of the emotions it could have had. My favorite part of the story was Lakshmi's job, her role as Henna artist and abortionist, and how she helped people. I loved seeing the insight into the lives of the rich and how her Henna helped them as well as the poor and desperate and the different remedies she had. It was a fascinating look at Indian society in the 50s and the relationship between her and her clients was very well done. But the story seemed like it drifted away from that quite a bit. Instead of delving deeply into Lakshmi's career, her relationships, or her younger sister's troubles, it felt like the book hit on every point briefly, just long enough to explain the issue without giving time to explore it. I think part of that was because of how fast paced the book was. It covers a whole year in just under 350 pages, and there aren't any large time jumps. It just sort of skims the trials and tribulations of their lives. We don't actually get to see any of the characters' development, the easiest example being Radha, Lakshmi's younger sister. She shows up in the beginning as a village girl who's never left home, but at some point becomes confident in the city and rebellious against her sister. When did this happen? I have no idea. We didn't get to see any growth or change apart from Lakshmi giving her a list of instructions on how to act. I didn't dislike this book, but I really did find myself struggling to care. I felt so distant from these characters and their lives. Nothing about this book hit me emotionally. Even when things got difficult for these characters, as they nearly always do, it felt almost clinical. Overall, interesting story in theory and there was enough I enjoyed about the culture of the time to make it worthwhile, but it's not a book I'll be excitedly pushing on others. If it sounds interesting to you, I'd recommend picking it up, but I didn't think it was anything spectacular.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    I love it when a book introduces me to something new and teaches me something. I had never given any thought to the people who create the elaborate henna drawings on the hands and feet of an Indian woman for ceremonial occasions. This book is set in 1950s India and introduced me to Lakshmi who was a henna artist. Lakshmi had been forced to marry when she was 15. Her mother in law was a healer and she taught Lakshmi about folk cures and the properties of various herbs. After Lakshmi left her husb I love it when a book introduces me to something new and teaches me something. I had never given any thought to the people who create the elaborate henna drawings on the hands and feet of an Indian woman for ceremonial occasions. This book is set in 1950s India and introduced me to Lakshmi who was a henna artist. Lakshmi had been forced to marry when she was 15. Her mother in law was a healer and she taught Lakshmi about folk cures and the properties of various herbs. After Lakshmi left her husband she established herself as a henna artist for wealthy women. The job included much more than painting, she was also part therapist/part masseuse and she provided herbal remedies including one that caused abortions. She was an independent woman who managed to save enough money to build her own house, until her younger sister appeared on her doorstep and changed both of their lives. The details of the lives of these women, and the societal restrictions that they faced, were fascinating. The writing was very clear and contained. I was pleased to find that it did not have an obligatory romance. This is the author’s first book and I’d be happy to read her next one. 4.5 stars

  6. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    There’s a whole classification of books I think of as “flog fiction.” You know the type, where reading them feels like you’re beating yourself with a stick all in the name of “literature.” These books often get described as “difficult yet powerful,” because the things that happen to the protagonists are so horrible it’s like torture turning each page for fear of what atrocities will lie ahead. I expected The Henna Artist to be flog fic, but to my surprise it’s anything but. In fact, author Alka J There’s a whole classification of books I think of as “flog fiction.” You know the type, where reading them feels like you’re beating yourself with a stick all in the name of “literature.” These books often get described as “difficult yet powerful,” because the things that happen to the protagonists are so horrible it’s like torture turning each page for fear of what atrocities will lie ahead. I expected The Henna Artist to be flog fic, but to my surprise it’s anything but. In fact, author Alka Joshi’s debut novel is the story of a woman, Lakshmi, in 1950s Jaipur who has taken destiny into her own hands. She works hard as a henna artist and herbalist to pay for the construction of her dream house and all the security it will provide. Sure, there are some difficult topics discussed, but none that outshine the powerful portrait of a strong, independent woman blazing her own trail. The Henna Artist is the first novel of a planned trilogy, with The Secret Keeper of Jaipur slated for publication in June, 2021. It has already been optioned for a TV series starring Freida Pinto that is being described as a lush production akin to an “Indian Downtown Abbey.” Consider me signed up for both. The audiobook of The Henna Artist is currently available on the Hoopla library app for immediate download. Blog: www.confettibookshelf.com IG: @confettibookshelf

  7. 4 out of 5

    Berit Talks Books

    Alka Joshi brings 1950s India to life with her lush and vivid writing. If you are someone like me who enjoys learning about other cultures and traveling to places you might never go, this is a can’t miss. The interesting well drawn characters and the captivating storytelling completely drew me into this clever tale. Sneha Mathan masterfully narrated this audiobook, really bringing a voice and an additional layer to this incredible story. With a book like this it is nice to have the audiobook bec Alka Joshi brings 1950s India to life with her lush and vivid writing. If you are someone like me who enjoys learning about other cultures and traveling to places you might never go, this is a can’t miss. The interesting well drawn characters and the captivating storytelling completely drew me into this clever tale. Sneha Mathan masterfully narrated this audiobook, really bringing a voice and an additional layer to this incredible story. With a book like this it is nice to have the audiobook because then you know how things are pronounced, however you don’t always know how things are spelled. There is a PDF that accompanies the audiobook that includes a list of the characters and a glossary. This made me a little nervous that there needed to be a character list, but I have to say I never needed to refer to it I never was confused. 1950s India 17-year-old Lakshmi escapes her abusive marriage and heads to Jaipur. In Jaipur Lakshmi establishes herself as a successful henna artist as well as a procurer of herbal remedies. She has even realize her dream of owning her own home, then her pass catches back up with her. Her estranged husband shows up with her 13-year-old sister Radha, A sister she did not even know she had. What ensues is a compelling tale of family, tradition, secrecy, revenge, and second chances. Loved this book! Lakshmi was such an easy character to get behind. She was so strong, so smart, and so deserving. Her sister Radha on the other hand really frustrated me, I had to remind myself that she was just a teenager at times. There were many other extremely well drawn secondary characters some who I loved and some who I did not. I also found the herbal medicine in this book super fascinating and I liked how they combined it with traditional medicine in the story. This is one of those books that gives you a lot to think about. Filled with colorful characters and beautifully told this is a story that I will not soon forget. This book in emojis: 🇮🇳 🖌 💰 🦜 🛺 🚂 🏔 🏥 *** Big thank you to Harlequin & Harper Audio for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    I’m not sure what I could possibly add to the already wonderful reviews by Alka Joshi’s debut novel. I purchased the ebook back in early March - before the pandemic lockdown - having no idea that it was a Reese Witherspoon Sunshine Book Club Pick. Life and other books got in the way - as many readers understand too well, too. A sweet birdie from India, gently reminded me to read “The Henna Artist”....[ for goodness sake, it’s time already].... and I did! I was in India for almost a full year in the I’m not sure what I could possibly add to the already wonderful reviews by Alka Joshi’s debut novel. I purchased the ebook back in early March - before the pandemic lockdown - having no idea that it was a Reese Witherspoon Sunshine Book Club Pick. Life and other books got in the way - as many readers understand too well, too. A sweet birdie from India, gently reminded me to read “The Henna Artist”....[ for goodness sake, it’s time already].... and I did! I was in India for almost a full year in the 1974....but this story takes place in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, in Jaipur, also known as Pink City.....the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. ( a vibrant city....a great place to shop for jewelry, fabrics, handicrafts, body oils, creams, spices, herbs, and other vibrant delightful divines). Author, Alka Joshi ....[as many before me have said]...takes us on an alluring, full-of-life, passionate, spirited, and thoroughly engaging journey, in India. Historical fiction at its best...culture, customs, art, traditions vs. the unorthodoxy modern life, challenges for women of the working class, abandonment of abortion as birth control, identity, escape of an abusive arranged marriage, family, (an engrossing sister relationship, romance, healing, solace, personal desires vs.family obligations, dissimulation, heart break, heart warmth, perseverance, courage, vivid experiential descriptions, wonderful sweeping cast of characters....( easy to remember), and marvelous adventurous storytelling. I was a little late to this book party ....but I absolutely loved it. This is another book that truly deserves all the praise it’s getting. 5 strong stars....Highly recommend it. ( as many other readers did for me). Many thanks to readers before me....and congrats to our author - Alka Joshi - on her first - outstanding novel. Hm.....tonight is Friday night date night ( watching ‘Soundtrack’ on Netflix) , ..... maybe we’ll pick up Indian cuisine for dinner tonight ( Paul’s favorite anyway)....chickpea curry, veggie biryani, daal, .... cauliflower and peas, rice, and some yummy Naan Getting hungry? Me too!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    Brew a Chai tea and immerse yourself in the vivid descriptions of the life of Lakshmi, the most requested Henna Artist in the vibrant 1950’s pink city of Jaipur. (Of course I googled it and was in awe of the beautiful city whose architecture is all painted a dusty pink hue, which signifies hospitality) For more than five thousand years, intricate henna art has been used to adorn the body for celebrations to promote luck and happiness, with the most talented artists producing a deep vibrant dye, w Brew a Chai tea and immerse yourself in the vivid descriptions of the life of Lakshmi, the most requested Henna Artist in the vibrant 1950’s pink city of Jaipur. (Of course I googled it and was in awe of the beautiful city whose architecture is all painted a dusty pink hue, which signifies hospitality) For more than five thousand years, intricate henna art has been used to adorn the body for celebrations to promote luck and happiness, with the most talented artists producing a deep vibrant dye, which will last longer on the skin, usually one to two weeks. At 17 years of age, Lakshmi escaped an abusive marriage and fled with just her drawing ability and the healing skills she learned from her Saas (mother in law) and worked hard to become the most requested henna artist among the wealthy-keeping their secrets along with her own. But her independent life will be threatened when her husbands tracks her down and introduces her to thirteen year old Radha-the sister she didn’t even know had been born after she fled. Lakshmi is strong and ambitious and the conversations she has with her clients show how clever she and the other women all are, as they carefully negotiate for what they desire… The descriptions of their traditions, rich in detail. The prose is lyrical, and the Audible narration by Sneha Mathan was masterful-she even had to be the voice of a talking parakeet named Madho Singh. 🦜 I enjoyed listening and reading simultaneously as the book provided a list of the characters who appear, the story of Henna, an explanation of the Caste system in India and recipes, making the experience of reading the book one that was not only engaging but educational as well. The author, Alka Joshi, wrote this book for her mother, who had an arranged marriage at age eighteen and three children by age 22-never having the opportunity to choose or not choose these things for herself and reimagined her life-as if she had. It is book one of a three book series which will jump in time 12 years and 18 years respectively and I cannot wait to continue the journey! Book two was just released on June 22, 2021 and is titled “The Secret Keeper of Jaipur”. A wonderful debut which I am so glad to have finally made time for! ❤️

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I absolutely loved reading this book. I got completely immersed in Lakshmi's world and felt that Alka Joshi appealed to all of my senses through her lyrical smooth writing. Lakshmi was a strong female protagonist who is brave and smart and admirable but also fallible and relatable. I loved how all of the characters wound together and enjoyed seeing different sides of their personalities through their relationships with others. I would highly recommend this book as a must read. There is a characte I absolutely loved reading this book. I got completely immersed in Lakshmi's world and felt that Alka Joshi appealed to all of my senses through her lyrical smooth writing. Lakshmi was a strong female protagonist who is brave and smart and admirable but also fallible and relatable. I loved how all of the characters wound together and enjoyed seeing different sides of their personalities through their relationships with others. I would highly recommend this book as a must read. There is a character list and a glossary of Indian words and some recipes and I confess that I started out with the list open in front of me on the laptop while I read so that I would be able to keep track and was a bit nervous that there would be too many characters and I would be pulled out of the story trying to sort everyone out. That was not the case. Not long into the book, I closed my laptop and let the story tell itself. 1950's India and it's caste system are showed to us through Lakshmi and her sister and each of their journey's, from poverty to building an independent life. Lakshmi is a Henna artist and a herbalist and although seaming to float gracefully through many different castes, we see that her every action is quite calculated and careful to preserve her income and way of life. The supporting characters are fully developed and as with all people, are all motivated differently, giving the book a depth that really stands out. The imagery is so stunning and yet fluid to the story that it doesn't force itself on you, it envelops you. I cheered for Lakshmi through trials and celebrations and when the story finished, I felt like I closed the door on a new friend that I would miss. Go read this book!!!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    This story was so vivid and lush. 😍 It captures your attention from the get-go, as you follow this woman doing henna for high society women in 1950’s India. The colors and designs are described and sound simply beautiful. ❤️ The struggle of women in that time and that country was certainly difficult. The “gossipers” could make or break your reputation, business and livelihood. 😔 Its a great story of strong willed women, sisterhood and survival.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    A journey to Jaipur, India. Lakshmi becomes a henna artist to the elite women in the city, painting their bodies with intricate patterns and rubbing away aches with lavender and clove oils. They trust her and her ways. Word gets around and her appointment book fills up. One day something happens, rumors start, she begins to panic as her appointments cancel. She will need to come up with a plan or lose everything she has worked for. Lakshmi wasn't a likable character for me (not sure if she was mean A journey to Jaipur, India. Lakshmi becomes a henna artist to the elite women in the city, painting their bodies with intricate patterns and rubbing away aches with lavender and clove oils. They trust her and her ways. Word gets around and her appointment book fills up. One day something happens, rumors start, she begins to panic as her appointments cancel. She will need to come up with a plan or lose everything she has worked for. Lakshmi wasn't a likable character for me (not sure if she was meant to be). She did several things that were questionable and shallow. Malik was my favorite, but wasn't a big part of the story. One of her clients was also intriguing and I wish I knew more about her. There is a big cast of characters to keep up with, many with minor roles. A vivid setting with the background of India, enormous palaces, royalty, lush gardens, and much more. It was easy to visualize the women wearing their pastel colored sari's, and traveling in the rickshaws. An enjoyable and fairly quick read for me. Recommend if you enjoy a family drama set in an exotic place. Library loan / Read in August 2021

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brandice

    The Henna Artist follows Lakshmi, a 30 year old woman who fled her abusive marriage years ago to start over in Jaipur. She’s worked hard to become the most sought after henna artist there, with many wealthy clients. They trust her, as she keeps their secrets, but she’s also smart with an entrepreneurial mindset and working toward owning her own home. Lakshmi is surprised when her younger sister, Radha, shows up unexpectedly — She’s been away from her former life so long, she didn’t realize she e The Henna Artist follows Lakshmi, a 30 year old woman who fled her abusive marriage years ago to start over in Jaipur. She’s worked hard to become the most sought after henna artist there, with many wealthy clients. They trust her, as she keeps their secrets, but she’s also smart with an entrepreneurial mindset and working toward owning her own home. Lakshmi is surprised when her younger sister, Radha, shows up unexpectedly — She’s been away from her former life so long, she didn’t realize she even had a sister. Lakshmi’s carefully crafted plans start becoming disrupted as Radha doesn’t always listen to her older sister. I really liked Lakshmi and found it easy to root for her throughout the book. I enjoyed learning more about India during the 1950s and had no problem envisioning this story. So glad I finally read this one, I loved it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    I am starting to think that the best way for me to enjoy a book is to go into it somewhat blind, for that is exactly what I did with this book. Books that show how women of an earlier time made their way in what was a patriarchal world always make me realize the progress we have made in the direction of equality. Granted there is still a long road to travel, but we will get there. At any rate, this story's setting is in India in the 1950s, right after the Raj has given up main control of the coun I am starting to think that the best way for me to enjoy a book is to go into it somewhat blind, for that is exactly what I did with this book. Books that show how women of an earlier time made their way in what was a patriarchal world always make me realize the progress we have made in the direction of equality. Granted there is still a long road to travel, but we will get there. At any rate, this story's setting is in India in the 1950s, right after the Raj has given up main control of the country. We meet a wonderfully endearing woman, who is strong and resilient. Lakshmi, was seventeen when she left her village determined to escape from an abusive husband and make her way in the world. She is goal oriented, success and money drive her forward. She, with the help of influential and wealthy Indian man, build a career that brings her into the homes and the confidences of the entitled and rich women of India. She learns their secrets but holds her own close to her heart. Then as life seems to be turning in her favor, her husband reappears bearing a young girl who is Lakshami's young sister, a sister she never knew of. Times change for Lakshami as she learns that being a sister to a young teenager is both challenging and a rebirth of sorts. As life intervenes in Lakshami's dream, she begins a journey that awakens her to the true meaning of a life well lead. Wonderfully told, with the beautiful culture, sights, and smells of India, this story is easy to read and its allure is in telling a story that says that no matter which way life turns, it can bring you to a place where you will find the happiness you have been seeking all along. Incidentally, at the end Ms Joshi tells the reader of the way that henna is made as well as including some recipes for dishes she spoke of in the story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This book took my soul captive and drag it to a marvelous journey taking place in Pink city, a unique place in Rajasthan named Jaipur… During your read, you smell all those herbs, visualize all those vivid colors, touch those exotic handcrafts, art pieces, jewelry and feel the soul of the city literally calling you! I felt like I was in an eccentric time travel! It’s 50’s India: where the arranged marriages are forced for being a proper couple, abusive relationship patterns are considered as no This book took my soul captive and drag it to a marvelous journey taking place in Pink city, a unique place in Rajasthan named Jaipur… During your read, you smell all those herbs, visualize all those vivid colors, touch those exotic handcrafts, art pieces, jewelry and feel the soul of the city literally calling you! I felt like I was in an eccentric time travel! It’s 50’s India: where the arranged marriages are forced for being a proper couple, abusive relationship patterns are considered as normal. The story centered on 17 years old Lakshimi who is another victim of domestic violence,leaving her old life behind by moving to Jaipur, becoming an aspiring Henna artist. She works too hard to gain a respectful place, earning her customers full trust with her talented work, saving every penny to own the house of her own in near future. But her husband’s sudden appearance along with her thirteen years old sister Radha changes everything. She’s so close to lose everything she’s worked so hard! I have to say: don’t get intimidated by the list of long characters at the beginning of the book. When you read the chapters, you easily absorb their names, motives and traits easily. This is absolutely so heartwarming story about dysfunctional marriage, dreams, sisterhood, friendship, customs, traditions and self discovery. I actually berated myself a lot for skipping this book for a long time. I’m so happy to give it a chance. I’m still dabbing my eyes, checking my swollen face in the mirror! I did again! I became the winner of ugliest crier and most tear jerking person contest! I highly recommend this who is open to take a realistic, sentimental, meaningful, heartwarming, intense journey to enjoy a great written women’s fiction!

  16. 4 out of 5

    PorshaJo

    Honestly, I saw the book cover, the title, and I was sold. I love to read anything that takes place in India or dives into Indian culture. I was on the longest wait from my library (always a good sign) and then I happened to find the audio on Hoopla so I jumped right in. The story takes place in 1950's India in Jaipur. Lakshmi works as a henna artist, one that is highly sought after by the wealthy ladies of Jaipur. She's alone and working very hard for a new home that she is building. And one day Honestly, I saw the book cover, the title, and I was sold. I love to read anything that takes place in India or dives into Indian culture. I was on the longest wait from my library (always a good sign) and then I happened to find the audio on Hoopla so I jumped right in. The story takes place in 1950's India in Jaipur. Lakshmi works as a henna artist, one that is highly sought after by the wealthy ladies of Jaipur. She's alone and working very hard for a new home that she is building. And one day, her 13 year old sister shows up on her door step. This would be a sister she did not know existed. Lakshmi was married to an abusive man who she ran away from ending up in Jaipur. Her family were outcasts due to the shame and her sister was shun (she was bad luck so said the gossip eaters). After the parents pass, Radha goes to find her sister Lakshmi and the story takes off. Lakshmi is a strong woman who has been on her own for some time, taking care of herself, doing what she must to survive. And her sister can throw that all away for her actions. I really enjoyed this story. I liked hearing about the culture during the 50's, hearing about a 'single' woman working to support herself, the herbs and teas that Lakshmi used to help people, and the stress brought on by an arrival of a sister she didn't know existed. You can say this was a character study of one woman. The audio narration was great! I laughed each time the narrator voiced the 'bird' that was owned by of the ladies that Lakshmi served. I see there is a follow-on book coming next year picking up where this one left off and I can't wait. I'm very glad I read this and look forward to more from this author.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 stars This novel is set in mid-1950s India, a few years after the sub-continent gained its independence from Great Britain. The main character, Lakshmi Shastri, is a twentysomething woman who fled from her arranged marriage thirteen years ago. Lakshsmi recalls, "I could no longer endure my husband's beatings; the wounds that made me bleed; the words that cut me open; the mornings I could barely get up off the floor. And all for what? For the child I couldn't give him." Before Lakshsmi left, he 3.5 stars This novel is set in mid-1950s India, a few years after the sub-continent gained its independence from Great Britain. The main character, Lakshmi Shastri, is a twentysomething woman who fled from her arranged marriage thirteen years ago. Lakshsmi recalls, "I could no longer endure my husband's beatings; the wounds that made me bleed; the words that cut me open; the mornings I could barely get up off the floor. And all for what? For the child I couldn't give him." Before Lakshsmi left, her beloved Saas (mother-in-law) taught her how to use spices, herbs, plants, potions, and teas - as well as specially prepared foods - to heal wounds, treat illnesses, lessen anxiety, induce relaxation, aid in conception, prevent conception, induce abortion, and so on. During Lakshmi's subsequent travels she learned to be a henna artist as well, and was eventually invited to the city of Jaipur by a rich businessman named Samir. Samir's sponsorship helped Lakshmi become the henna artist for high-caste women in Jaipur, including his wife Parvati. Lakshmi brings her supplies, as well as homemade treats, when she visits 'her ladies', and is credited with helping Parvati conceive her second son. Lakshmi's sponsor Samir also functions as a sort of business partner, introducing her to clients who need her help to get pregnant, grow their hair, lighten their skin, etc. In fact Samir himself is a client, purchasing sachets that prevent his mistresses from conceiving children. Lakshmi has worked very hard for the past decade, and used her earnings to build her dream house, bit by bit. The home is almost complete now, and Lakshmi looks forward to moving in and planting a large garden with medicinal plants and herbs. Ever since Lakshmi left her village, she has longed to see her parents, who - in accordance with Indian culture - would have been shamed and ostracized by her behavior. Lakshmi regularly wrote her parents and sent money, but they never responded. Now that Lakshmi's house is almost complete, she sent cash for train tickets.....so her parents could join her in Jaipur. Instead of Lakshmi's parents, her estranged husband Hari shows up, with a thirteen-year-old girl called Radha. Radha says she's Lakshmi's sister, born after she left, and that their parents are dead. Lakshmi takes Radha under her wing, and immediately starts to convert the 'village girl' into a 'city girl' who dresses and behaves in a sophisticated manner. Lakshmi also starts teaching Radha about natural medicines, and arranges for Radha to go to school when the semester starts. I don't want to say more because of spoilers, but I think it's fair to say that Radha - being a strong-willed hormonal adolescent getting her first taste of freedom - causes her share of trouble. There's quite a bit of drama as the story unfolds, and a wide array of secondary characters. Most of the Indian men in this book don't come off too well. We meet an alcoholic, a wife-beater, a disgusting lecher, a ruthless builder, an entitled youth, a flagrant philanderer, and more. Some of the women also behave badly, but - from their point of view - it's mostly self-protection. Indian women (in the 1950s at least) were relatively powerless, and had to maneuver as best they could to protect themselves, their families, and their position in society. Two of my favorite characters are Dr. Kumar - who wants to add natural remedies to his medical practice; and Malik - a clever, hard-working, 8-year-old boy who makes himself Lakshmi's assistant. Malik calls Lakshmi 'Auntie Boss' and skillfully maneuvers and manipulates (in a good way) to help himself and his employer. With an education, Malik could probably be Prime Minister of India. To me, the information Alka Joshi includes about Indian customs, dress, food, marriages, ceremonies, castes, etc. is fascinating. Cerebrations that require women to be painted with henna include things like marriage, pregnancy, birth, baby naming, baby's first solid food, visits to a temple, moving into a new house, death, funerals, etc. This provides plenty of work for henna artists, especially talented ones with original designs. The author also touches on castes in India, and I learned that high caste people aren't supposed to do jobs that require touching people's heads or feet; and high caste contractors can't built bathrooms, because of the 'unclean' association. Brahmin wedding The author doesn't say too much about lower castes, which aren't the focus of the book. I enjoyed the novel, my major quibbles being that the plot is somewhat predictable and the book has too much of a fairy tale vibe. Still, this is a good debut novel, highly recommended. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  18. 5 out of 5

    NILTON TEIXEIRA

    What a great debut! This was very entertaining. I love entering a different culture. India is fascinating as is disturbing (all that poverty, violence against women and caste system - did you know that there are over 3k castes and 25k subcastes in India? - these topics are just highlighted in this book) Although the writing is very simple, I was engaged from the very beginning and I was transported to the era and culture. The storyline was absorbing and well developed/structured. The only reason I’m What a great debut! This was very entertaining. I love entering a different culture. India is fascinating as is disturbing (all that poverty, violence against women and caste system - did you know that there are over 3k castes and 25k subcastes in India? - these topics are just highlighted in this book) Although the writing is very simple, I was engaged from the very beginning and I was transported to the era and culture. The storyline was absorbing and well developed/structured. The only reason I’m not giving it 5 stars is because (I may have said exactly the same on previous reviews) I don’t like convenient coincidences, as it makes the world feels very small and predictable. But, predictable or not, I loved the conclusion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4 transport me to India stars This one completely absorbed me and took me to 1950s India with rich and colorful descriptions of the sights and sounds. We meet Lakshmi, the Henna Artist of Jaipur. She’s built an amazing business for herself and is even having her dream house built. She’s sought after by all the ladies in town and might even get an invitation to the royal palace. She has an herbal medicine business on the side as well. This was a fascinating side story as most of these herbs were v 4 transport me to India stars This one completely absorbed me and took me to 1950s India with rich and colorful descriptions of the sights and sounds. We meet Lakshmi, the Henna Artist of Jaipur. She’s built an amazing business for herself and is even having her dream house built. She’s sought after by all the ladies in town and might even get an invitation to the royal palace. She has an herbal medicine business on the side as well. This was a fascinating side story as most of these herbs were very effective. Her life is about to change when her younger sister shows up – a sister she didn’t even know existed. Lakshmi fled an abusive husband years ago. She didn’t realize the devastation she left behind for her parents and sister. Her sister Radha has a lot to learn about the world and how it works. She must just undo all the hard work that Lakshmi has put into her business. This one went in a different direction than I expected but I really liked how it ended and the journey into this time in India. I got a copy of this one through BookBrowse and it is a great one to discuss. I think it would make a great book club book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pragya

    I picked this up from GR book award nominations section, saw the wonderful reviews and decided to go for it. It started off really well, then went downhill and never revived itself. I really just wanted to finish reading it after a point. I was confused about all those raving reviews before realizing that this book was written keeping in mind the international audience and what sells to them. It was not meant for Indian readers who would find the loopholes and would not be swayed by the ayurvedi I picked this up from GR book award nominations section, saw the wonderful reviews and decided to go for it. It started off really well, then went downhill and never revived itself. I really just wanted to finish reading it after a point. I was confused about all those raving reviews before realizing that this book was written keeping in mind the international audience and what sells to them. It was not meant for Indian readers who would find the loopholes and would not be swayed by the ayurvedic remedies and the cultural overwhelm and would be able to realize the hurried yet not real plot and the stunted character development. It felt like there was a rush to reach the happy ever after ending and so it was. The characters and situations were often implausible. Several times, I found myself shaking my head. And those idioms had me gritting my teeth, half the time they were just inserted where they didn't even fit. This book is meant to overwhelm an international audience making them believe they have got a glimpse of Indian culture, the truth is far from it. I was relieved to know I wasn't the only one who felt this way when I read some other reviews, not all of them by Indians. Some non-Indian readers also did see through the whole 'let me pitch this colorful, intense, surprise-me-at-every-page' India to them and they will be sold to the idea. (I also do see a certain person commenting on low star reviews and questioning them. Just in case, she wants to do the same, be my guest but I will not be replying back. Are you the author in disguise or someone related to her? Do remember, people have varying opinions. Each to his own. Accept that and move on.) This book really could have been so much more. The Henna Artist had potential but it didn't live up to it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Provin Martin

    Lakshmi ran away from her home at 17. She’s now a 30 year old henna artist in India during the 1950’s. She has spent many years supporting herself in order to create the life she’s always wanted. She has done well enough to support herself and she sends money back home to her family. One of her employees wants to find a match for her boarding school son Ravi. Lakshmi is grateful to have the opportunity to arrange his marriage., and for the money it will provide her family. Lakshmi is trying to b Lakshmi ran away from her home at 17. She’s now a 30 year old henna artist in India during the 1950’s. She has spent many years supporting herself in order to create the life she’s always wanted. She has done well enough to support herself and she sends money back home to her family. One of her employees wants to find a match for her boarding school son Ravi. Lakshmi is grateful to have the opportunity to arrange his marriage., and for the money it will provide her family. Lakshmi is trying to be an independent woman, in a time when independence is not allowed for Women in India. She’s trying to build her own home so that she can bring her family to live with her. One day her estranged husband shows up with a young girl who he says is her Little sister. Is this young girl her punishment for leaving her family or a blessing that has been left behind by her parents. She also finds out at the same time that her parents are dead and that they never received the money she had been sending. Her mom burned every letter she wrote without opening it. This book is steeped in Indian tradition putting you in India. Smelling the foods and visualizing the colors. I found it educated me on the Hindi culture and India’s caste system along with telling me a wonderful story that I will carry in my heart for years to come. It is also a book about a relationship between two sisters separated by enough age that it is almost a parent/child relationship. Lakshmi only wants the best for her sister (that she didn’t even know existed). But her little sis is a rebel and soon they are both put into a dire situation. In the end Lakshmi must lose the life that she has built in order to get the life she never knew she wanted. A touching story that is sure to become a classic.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Allison Faught

    Such a beautiful and heartfelt book! I felt so calm reading this book because of the beautiful imagery. It was so relaxing reading this every morning to start my day and every night before bed. The scenes just sounded so beautiful. The topics in this book are incredibly sensitive but I truly felt Joshi was tactful in building a story around them. It took me a bit longer to read this than I had originally hoped since I kept flipping to the dictionary to learn (and relearn) what some of the foreign Such a beautiful and heartfelt book! I felt so calm reading this book because of the beautiful imagery. It was so relaxing reading this every morning to start my day and every night before bed. The scenes just sounded so beautiful. The topics in this book are incredibly sensitive but I truly felt Joshi was tactful in building a story around them. It took me a bit longer to read this than I had originally hoped since I kept flipping to the dictionary to learn (and relearn) what some of the foreign words meant. In hindsight, I wish I’d practiced the words beforehand to make the story read more fluid. All in all, gorgeous story with wonderful characters.

  23. 5 out of 5

    da AL

    When's the last time you read something unapologetically pro-choice -- & that's as empowering as it is romantic? Me? Never. Can't wait for Joshi's next book! Wish there were more novels that discuss pro-choice issues head-on. Enchanting story set in 1950s India from women's point of view about the choices we're given and how much we can make with them. Audiobook narrator Sneha Mathan is marvelous! When's the last time you read something unapologetically pro-choice -- & that's as empowering as it is romantic? Me? Never. Can't wait for Joshi's next book! Wish there were more novels that discuss pro-choice issues head-on. Enchanting story set in 1950s India from women's point of view about the choices we're given and how much we can make with them. Audiobook narrator Sneha Mathan is marvelous!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Author Alka Joshi brings the richness of India to life in this heartwarming story as we follow Lakshmi's (the title character's) personal successes and struggles during this country's transition between traditional and modern lifestyles from 1955 to 1956. My senses came alive through Joshi's vibrant descriptions of cultural aspects such as the food, language, fashion and mannerisms. Her biggest gift to this story; however, is the depth of her characters. None of them are perfect (except maybe Mal Author Alka Joshi brings the richness of India to life in this heartwarming story as we follow Lakshmi's (the title character's) personal successes and struggles during this country's transition between traditional and modern lifestyles from 1955 to 1956. My senses came alive through Joshi's vibrant descriptions of cultural aspects such as the food, language, fashion and mannerisms. Her biggest gift to this story; however, is the depth of her characters. None of them are perfect (except maybe Malik - I loved him!), but that's what makes them so human. When things went well, I felt satisfaction; when problems arose, I was eager to find out how Joshi would solve them. Very well-written debut novel which was convincingly narrated by Sneha Mathan! Don't worry - her sequel The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is on my WTR list!

  25. 4 out of 5

    La Tonya Jordan

    A fabulous read. The life of Lakshmi path to contentment was not the road must traveled. India in 1955 after the removal of the British was a time were Indians were starting to feel proud within themselves. For Lakshmi is was a time for her to show her true worth. Getting the foundation of her craft as a henna artist and a healer in her tiny village of Ajar, she leaves an abusive arranged marriage to find her purpose and value in life knowing she deserved better. In Jaipur, she is the henna arti A fabulous read. The life of Lakshmi path to contentment was not the road must traveled. India in 1955 after the removal of the British was a time were Indians were starting to feel proud within themselves. For Lakshmi is was a time for her to show her true worth. Getting the foundation of her craft as a henna artist and a healer in her tiny village of Ajar, she leaves an abusive arranged marriage to find her purpose and value in life knowing she deserved better. In Jaipur, she is the henna artist to the wealthy and powerful. It is at this junction she becomes more ambitions and wants to use her knowledge to become a matchmaker for pay. This is where she would be arranging the marriages of the elite for power, appearance, and status. She wants her parents to see her accomplishments and live in the comforts of her hard work. And most importantly to forgive her for abandoning her marriage resulting in the embarrassment to her family. This is when her thirteen year sister Radha enters her life. Lakshmi starts to unearth the person she has allowed to be buried for her accomplishments and ambition. Lakshmi will miss Samir, as will I. A fabulous well written novel of redemption. This novel reiterates the fact that wealth comes in many forms. A must read. Quotes: How could I explain men who knocked on the door in the middle of the night? Or women who had lovers outside their marriage? He smiled at me. "Install WCs-hundreds of them. To a clerk a bribe; to a Brahmin a gift." I realized that I seemed so pitiful to him that he, who had so little, was refusing the food I offered. "Dr. Kumar said her baby had stopped breathing. Days ago. Her body was trying to get rid of it, but she tried to stop it from happening."

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Reads Ravenously

    3.75 stars “People are more gullible and less compassionate than any of us want to believe.” After escaping an abusive marriage, Lakshmi has worked hard for over a decade to build up a good reputation as a henna artist in Jaipur. When her estranged husband appears with the younger sister she never knew existed, Lakshmi must work even harder to try and build a better life for them both. I very much enjoyed this story, I honestly don’t know much about India and that they have (had?) a caste sys 3.75 stars “People are more gullible and less compassionate than any of us want to believe.” After escaping an abusive marriage, Lakshmi has worked hard for over a decade to build up a good reputation as a henna artist in Jaipur. When her estranged husband appears with the younger sister she never knew existed, Lakshmi must work even harder to try and build a better life for them both. I very much enjoyed this story, I honestly don’t know much about India and that they have (had?) a caste system that ruled the country. I was fascinated with the henna process and how meaningful it was. The best parts of the book for me were Lakshmi navigating the intricacies of all the families and clients. I honestly really didn’t care for the parts with her younger sister and was more annoyed by them. But overall a really solid story and I can see why this is a popular book club selection.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kerrin

    The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi is an intimate look at the life of an Indian woman named Lakshmi. She was forced to marry Hari at a young age. His mother taught her herbal medicine, including remedies for hair loss, fertility, and abortion. When Hari became abusive, Lakshmi escaped to Jaipur India. Her abandonment brought great shame to her parents. Unbeknown to Lakshmi when she deserted, her mother was pregnant with another daughter named Radha. In Jaipur, Lakshmi meets a wealthy man named Samir, The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi is an intimate look at the life of an Indian woman named Lakshmi. She was forced to marry Hari at a young age. His mother taught her herbal medicine, including remedies for hair loss, fertility, and abortion. When Hari became abusive, Lakshmi escaped to Jaipur India. Her abandonment brought great shame to her parents. Unbeknown to Lakshmi when she deserted, her mother was pregnant with another daughter named Radha. In Jaipur, Lakshmi meets a wealthy man named Samir, who is very interested in her medicine packets. Samir introduces her to his wife Parvati, who helps Lakshmi become a well-known henna artist amongst the rich women. Lakshmi wants nothing more than to finish paying for the house she is having built and to continue to grow her business. Her life is upended when Hari arrives in Jaipur with the 13-year-old Radha after their parents died. Radha, who had been known as the bad luck girl in their home village, creates chaos for Lakshmi. The story beautifully paints a picture of 1950’s India. This was a time when the royal family would disown children on the advice of astrologers and adopt a new heir apparent. In discussing life after British rule Lakshmi says, “Independence changed everything. Independence changed nothing.” Rumor mongers could easily destroy the livelihood of someone in a lower caste. Lakshmi must deal with the whims of the wealthy women, the wild behavior of her sister, financial woes, and eventually her own health issues. I listened to the Audible Audio and really enjoyed Sneha Mathan’s narration. 4.5 stars, rounding up to 5-stars. Book club recommended unless the discussion of abortions is upsetting for your group.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    As I entered Lakshmi's world of India in the 1950's, I was transported to another time and place. I listened to the audio book of The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi read by Sneha Mathan. It was a beautiful, well written book that captured my heart from the beginning. The characters were so well described, complex and memorable that I often found myself closing my eyes and was easily able to picture them. Alka Joshi's storytelling was masterful and engaging. It was a book about family, sisters, a cas As I entered Lakshmi's world of India in the 1950's, I was transported to another time and place. I listened to the audio book of The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi read by Sneha Mathan. It was a beautiful, well written book that captured my heart from the beginning. The characters were so well described, complex and memorable that I often found myself closing my eyes and was easily able to picture them. Alka Joshi's storytelling was masterful and engaging. It was a book about family, sisters, a caste system that dictated one's success or lack of, advantages or disadvantages in life based on one's socio-economic standings, motherhood, forgiveness, idle gossip, deceit and transformation. Focus was placed on the issues of abortion, arranged marriages and the roles of women vs. men and how they were viewed in this time period. Throughout Lakshmi's journey, India's culture in Jaipur, India was revealed, seen and felt with all the senses. I loved the vivid details of the saris the women wore and the description of the henna designs Lakshmi drew on her wealthy clients and their significance. Lakshmi had many talents that she had the impossible task of balancing. Her strength and the way she always found a way to recover from adversity or a problem was so commendable. Lakshmi's reunion with her younger sister was at times so beautiful and yet so challenging. This was Alka Joshi's first novel and it was moving, unforgettable and so satisfying. I can't wait to see what she writes next. I highly recommend this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jananie (thisstoryaintover)

    Omg this was so good 😭😭😭 I flew through this in two days and it's been such an incredible, enveloping story that's completely stolen my heart. The setting of Jaipur came to life off the page and I was so invested in Lakshmi's life from fleeing her marriage as a young girl to being the capable businesswoman to having to take care of her (often ungrateful) younger sister but also to the growth she reached by the end and the new purpose she found. I have so much love for Lakshmi and Malik and Madho Omg this was so good 😭😭😭 I flew through this in two days and it's been such an incredible, enveloping story that's completely stolen my heart. The setting of Jaipur came to life off the page and I was so invested in Lakshmi's life from fleeing her marriage as a young girl to being the capable businesswoman to having to take care of her (often ungrateful) younger sister but also to the growth she reached by the end and the new purpose she found. I have so much love for Lakshmi and Malik and Madho Singh and Jay Kumar—these characters will definitely live on in my heart ♥️

  30. 4 out of 5

    RoseMary Achey

    People can change-this was one of the core concepts a reader is left after finishing this enjoyable book. The Henna Artist set during the late 1950’s in India features several characters who grow and develop and this was utterly pleasurable to read. The main character is living and working as a respected and independent woman. Rare for a woman in the 1950’s in India a country still ruled by the strict social mores and class system. She has worked for over a decade establishing a highly successfu People can change-this was one of the core concepts a reader is left after finishing this enjoyable book. The Henna Artist set during the late 1950’s in India features several characters who grow and develop and this was utterly pleasurable to read. The main character is living and working as a respected and independent woman. Rare for a woman in the 1950’s in India a country still ruled by the strict social mores and class system. She has worked for over a decade establishing a highly successful business as a henna artist and herbalist. Her well controlled world is suddenly upended when the abusive husband she ran from 13 years ago arrives with her sister in tow. A sister she never knew existed. This book was well researched and will completely encapsulate you with the sights and sounds of the time and place. You will cheer for these flawed characters on their journey to greater self-awareness.

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