The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

Let's just take a moment to appreciate this beautiful cover. It is the first thing that drew me to this book. Then I read the synopsis and knew I had to read it.

Alka Joshi's debut novel, The Henna Artist, takes place in the 1950's in Jaipur, India. Lakshmi is the protagonist, a henna artist, trying to make an independent life for herself. Lakshmi's charism for healing and tending to the women of the upper caste of Jaipur with her unique and intricate henna designs serves her well. As long as she can avoid the gossip eaters, everything will go fine.

When Lakshmi's sister, Radha, a sister she knew nothing about, shows up, her life is turned upside down. Lakshmi has been away from her family for some time and now she is responsible for a thirteen year old who hasn't been taught what is acceptable and what is not. What will Lakshmi's customers think of this turn of events?

This is a story about India. The sights, sounds, traditions are very much a part of this story. Joshi's descriptions make India and its culture come alive. This is a story about family, both blood family and chosen family. Joshi's lyrical writing breathes life into her characters. Malik, a servant boy is one of my favourites. This is a story about trying to make the right decisions and living with the consequences. Things are not always black and white.

This book reads smoothly; the images crisp and vibrant. If you love India or want to learn more about it, if you like strong female characters who don't let difficult circumstances bring them down, you will enjoy The Henna Artist. Plus, a sequel is coming.

Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛

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