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The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi is an adult fiction novel, set in the 1950's in India.

Lakshmi had spent the last 13 years developing her reputation as Jaipur's most highly respected henna artist. Wealthy women from across the city request Lakshmi for her skills, her treats that seem to treat all manner of maladies and for her ear, as a confidant. But her own secrets about her past, are hers alone.

When the thirteen-year-old sister she never knew she had, shows up on her doorstep, Lakshmi is both thrilled and wary of the impulsive, uncultured girl who could reveal her past and threaten her future.

All Lakshmi has ever wanted was to pursue her dreams of an independent life. Will she be able to overcome when those dreams are threatened?

This wasn't a book I probably would have picked up on my own, but my book club chose it this month, so I gave it a go. And it wasn't a bad read. It was interesting to learn about some of the customs that go along with henna and to be immersed in the politics of the time, especially from a female perspective.

Lakshmi is a strong, able character, with flaws and determination who ultimately wishes to help those around her. It was really neat to see the author's note at the end and to think that Lakshmi's life is an imagining of what the author's mother's life could have been.

The second half of this book is what really grabbed me though. The beginning was interesting enough but I was really invested in Lakshmi's world and how it slowly started to crumble, even as she struggled to salvage her reputation and the dreams she had held on to for so long.

Overall, this was a good read. This one gets about 3.5 stars from me.

That's all for now!


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