The Henna Artist, by Alka Joshi
Published by Harlequin Audio, 10th March 2020
Genres: Historical fiction
Trigger warnings: domestic abuse, abortion, miscarriage
Desperate to escape an abusive marriage, Lakshmi journeys to the colourful city of Jaipur with nothing but her courage, artistic talent and the healing skills learned from her mother-in-law. Through sheer determination and hard work, she slowly establishes her reputation as the best henna artist in the city. Her gifts allow her entry into some of the wealthiest homes in Jaipur, where she becomes the confidante of her glamourous clients.
However, Lakshmi’s reputation and ambition face some considerable obstacles as her past comes to find her in Jaipur.
I really enjoyed this book! I listened to it on audiobook and the production was so well done. Whilst doing my chores around the house I was transported into the vibrant Indian culture and taken along on a wonderful journey. I would definitely recommend reading this via the audiobook, as it adds another layer to the story.
Lakshmi is an amazingly strong female protagonist. She went from having nothing to creating a successful business for herself and gaining her independence. But, ten years down the line, she has become too immersed in the materialistic and vain world of her clients. A world in which she does not really belong.
For that reason, I really loved the ending. Without giving any spoilers away, by the end of the book, Lakshmi has to remember what is truly important in life. She returns to her roots and her mother-in-law’s teachings and it was exactly the ending I was wishing for.
This was a wonderful book which will transport the reader into the heart of Jaipur in the 1950s and provide remarkable insights into the culture at the time.
My rating: 4/5