The Henna Artist - Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist

By Alka Joshi

  • Release Date: 2020-03-03
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4.5
From 606 Ratings




“Eloquent and moving…Joshi masterfully balances a yearning for self-discovery with the need for familial love.”—Publishers Weekly

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 does.


  • Interesting!

    By 12345qwertfdsa
    First, it’s a great story filled with beautiful and privileged people and those who serve them. The author somehow explains the caste system and customs in such a way that evokes sympathy rather than repulsion. There is a very graphic sex scene towards the end. That makes some of my friends more interested in reading it, and a few rule it out.
  • Amazing

    By Estiiczko
    Fantastic book that will give you a deep appreciation for the rich Indian culture
  • lovely

    By bman4288
    This was such a fantastic read. I do recommend reading along with a. audiobook to make some things better to understand but the story is a great one with a happy ending. 10/10 would recommend.
  • Compelling and Imaginative Story

    By Carol from CA
    Alka Joshi reimagines a life for her mother, who was in an arranged marriage at 18 and had three children by age 22. The main character, Lakshmi, leaves an abusive husband and sets out on her own to build a new life. An accomplished henna artist, she is much in demand by the upper class women of Jaipur, India. Ambiition, family, class and castes, betrayal, redemption, and love, all work together in this compelling story.
  • 4/5

    By lamm_ie
    Love loved it! Read it within a day. Could not put down. The author paints beautifully vivid pictures with her words.
  • Amazing book!

    By igloo alfredo godin
    I was sad when finished this book... so so good!
  • A must read

    By vivibookshelf
    I love everything about this book. A story of hurt , redemption, love, sacrifice and strength . Lakshmi ,at 17 years old escapes her abusive marriage and heads to Jaipur. After living in Jaipur she establishes herself as a popular henna artist and a herbalist . Her dream was to own her home , but as she works her way to success Her estranged husband and her 13yr old sister ( who she didn’t even know exist ), showed up and all her plans are turned upside down
  • Love!!

    By Pgsjbfukngfuoj
    I loved this book and did not want to put it down. I enjoyed learning the culture and Alka Joshi did a wonderful job with the details of the entire book including the character list and glossary of terms. I recommend to all of my friends!
  • Absolutely loved it ❤️ didn’t want it to end.

    By Priyanka Birari
    Absolutely loved it! Alka has done a commendable job in writing Lakshmi’s story. Character portrayal along with scene description is remarkable. Especially the relationship that Radha, Lakshmi and Kanta shared reminded me of my younger sister. I was just not ready for the story to end. It not only took me back to India but also made me proud of the rich culture we have. I am looking forward to the sequel. Cheers!
  • The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

    By VAK2906
    I recently read this book, and I loved it! As an Indian-American, I always love reading books with South Asian representation! It was so cool to get a glimpse into 1950s Jaipur; I loved the setting. I also thought that the book was really empowering for women! The characters were flawed and realistic, and yet I sympathized with them every step of the way. This was definitely one of my favorite books I’ve read this year!