The Henna Artist offers a glimpse into a country and society you may not be very familiar with. How great when a book can entertain and educate. The story is set in the 1950s in India just after the country’s independence from British rule. Thirty-year old Lakshmi is living in Jaipur years after escaping an abusive husband from an arranged marriage. She has found success as a henna artist working for the city’s society women. She also has the skill of healing through herbal medicine. Lakshmi is independent and satisfied with her life. When Radha, her thirteen year old sister she never knew existed finds her, Lakshmi has to find a way to include her in her life which is consumed by her profession and her desire to cater to the wealthy women she works for. Soon everything she’s worked so hard to build starts to fall apart.
Alka Joshi has created a touching and complex story about the role of women, family and social class in India during this period. The author gives the reader a vivid picture of life in India’s wealthiest of surroundings to its poorest. An impressive debut novel.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: March 3, 2020.
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