The Henna Artist, Alka Joshi

Your ticket to ride a literary train through India and experience the richness of its culture, the glory of its past and the wonder of its modern society, all from your seat on The Henna Artista train.


Synopsis
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.

Richard comments
You never heard of The Henna Artist? Alka Joshi? A shame but you can recover by buying a copy or borrowing from your local library if you have extensive patience, the wait-hold could take that long.

Alka Joshi is a typical Californian kicked up a few notches: a writer who really cares about her readers; the best selling author of two New York Times best-selling books but yet is as approachable as a next-door neighbour, probably even more given this day and age and these pandemic times; a writer who is dynamic, energetic and vivaciously outspoken about her literary endeavours; a writer whose status and acclaim should make her distant and aloof, but is not. She is the complete opposite of a stereotypical famous writer. Joshi is humble, personable, approachable and all-out charming. She is a raconteur with a photographic memory who draws verbal portraits as quickly as she talks. An engaging speaker who is riveting in her interchanges with her audiences.

Oh, she is a pretty good writer to boot.

Joshi is a sociological anthologist whose books are captivating as much as they are entertaining. Begin reading her book and soon you will forget you are in her sociological classroom where she is teaching you about Indian culture without you even realizing you’re being taught. Taught all kinds of things you never knew would be interesting, cultural aspects of Indian society that are enlightening and stimulating. You learn about British colonialism, India’s gentle ways that were a rebellion with a velvet glove, social dichotomies that seem tribal yet are steeped in centuries of tradition and custom.

Joshi’s lessons are gentle schooling woven into a colourful and rich tapestry of dramatic descriptions and vivid social scenes.

The Henna Artist engages the reader within paragraphs and becomes an educational tour de force with gentleness, colourful descriptions, and credible dramatic scenes. Her characters are captivating and fascinating, her descriptions attractive and appealing, her storytelling is among the very best in the world of writing.

Some may support the idea that she is the Harlequin author of Hindus, a romantic who elevates the art of romance, and even eroticism to the lofty heights of best-seller status and writing style. Joshi does it all taking her readers on a journey of cultural awareness and sociological education.

A marvellous trip, your ticket on a ride of romance and new awareness.

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