The Henna artist

by Joshi, Alka,

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 32 copies
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Summary
A NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER

A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK

"Eloquent and moving...Joshi masterfully balances a yearning for self-discovery with the need for familial love."--Publishers Weekly

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.

Look for The Secret Keeper of Jaipur from New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi!
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "It took years of painstaking work, but Lakshmi has finally built a life for herself in the pink city of Jaipur, India. After escaping the abusive marriage she had been forced into as a teenager in her rural village, she learned how to use her artistic skills to find work as a henna artist, inking elaborate designs on wealthy women and learning some of their deepest desires in the process. Now, with building work almost complete on her own home, Lakshmi begins to feel safe at last--until the younger sister she never knew she had is brought to her doorstep by Lakshmi's husband. Set in the 1950s, just eight years after India's independence from Britain, this lush novel reveals the intimate lives of India's elite while reckoning with the hardscrabble lot of the people who served them. Lakshmi's sister soon learns her own hard lesson about the entitlement of the upper classes, a lesson that threatens the independence Lakshmi has slowly earned for herself. Joshi has constructed a bewitching glimpse into the not-so-distant past with a tough heroine well worth cheering on."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Joshi's eloquent debut follows a sought-after henna practitioner in postindependence Jaipur, India. Lakshmi Shastri survives a harsh childhood in rural Ajar by running away from an abusive, arranged teenage marriage. Determined to make something of herself, Lakshmi parlays her talent for original henna designs and herbal remedies into a successful business, offering henna to high-caste women and discreetly selling contraceptive tea to men with mistresses, including a man named Samir. After her estranged husband tracks her down years later, in 1955, with Lakshmi's just-orphaned, 13-year-old sister, Radha, Lakshmi is surprised to learn she has a sister and devastated by the death of their parents, who were shamed after her departure. Lakshmi had saved to bring them to Jaipur, hoping to earn back their respect. Instead, Lakshmi takes in Radha, whose carefree interest in boys threatens to damage Lakshmi's reputation and years-long struggle for independence. When faced with Samir's vengeful wife, Lakshmi must come to terms with the effect of her actions on others. And after Radha becomes pregnant, Lakshmi gains an opportunity to put her family first. Joshi's evocative descriptions capture India's sensory ambience (horse-drawn tongas, pungent cooking fires and incense, and colorful saris), drawing readers deep into her moving story. Joshi masterfully balances a yearning for self-discovery with the need for familial love. (Mar.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Abused women -- Fiction.
Henna (Dye) -- Fiction.
Secrecy -- Fiction.
Sisters -- Fiction.
Jaipur (India) -- Fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher Toronto, Ontario, Canada :2020
Language English
Notes Includes glossary of terms, the story of henna, the caste system in India, and recipes.
Description 342 pages ; 23 cm
ISBN 9780778309451
0778309452
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