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The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
Historical fiction

The Henna Artist

by Alka Joshi

Quick take

After trading a bad marriage for a life of independence, a woman navigates art, family duty, and societal expectations.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_International


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MarriageIssues

    Marriage issues


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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Member ratings (11)

  • Kaeli H.

    Agawam, MA

    Historical Fiction • Feminist-Lit • Overcoming Diversity • Indian Culture • Finding Your Voice • Gritty • Poetic Justice • Societal Pressures • Class Issues • Wealth & Power • Beautiful Plot

  • Kiley N.

    Dixon, MO

    Truly an amazing story. Ready for the sequel!

  • Geri F.

    New Providence, NJ

  • Mary C.

    Lake Forest, IL

  • Bailey S.

    Chicago, IL

    Really loved this book for the glimpse into India it gives. While I felt the climax was fairly easy to anticipate, I still thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and character development.