The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi @harlequinbooks @alkajoshi #review #fiction


Author: Alka Joshi

ISBN: 9780778309451

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Publisher: MIRA Books


After fleeing an arranged marriage as a fifteen year old to an abusive older man, Lakshmi Shastri steals away alone from her rural village to Jaipur. Here, against odds, she carves out a living for herself as a henna artist, and friend and confidante to wealthy, upper caste women. Surviving by her wits and talents, she shares her knowledge and keeps their secrets in a delicate balancing act amid the changing 1950s social mores brought about by Indian Independence. Vulnerable to opinion and innuedo, at any point her intentions might be misunderstood, and she could fall prey to a damaged reputation or worse. Still Lakshmi manages to save to build a house with the dream of bringing her aging parents here to live with her and redeem herself in their eyes. Then one day her ex-husband arrives in town seeking her out with a girl in tow, a sister she did not know she had. Her sister is both passionate and reckless by nature, and all of a sudden the caution that Lakshmi has carefully cultivated is threatened, along with her livelihood. But she preseveres, and in doing so manages to lift up the others around her with her success.

Lakshmi’s tenacity and spirit see her join the ranks of other brave women of historical fiction, such as Farough Farrokhzad in Jasmin Darznik’s Song of a Captive Bird.With gorgeous prose and urgent themes, the novel will captivate readers of Shobha Rao’s Girls Burn Brighter, and those who seek a narrative both compelling and necessary.


Lakshmi was in an abusive, arranged marriage. She escaped and created a whole new life for herself. She is the most sought after henna artist in her city. She thinks she is on the right path to riches. Then her estranged husband shows up with her little sister in tow. This threatens everything she has worked so hard to achieve.

I love Lakshmi! As most of you know, I love strong women characters and Lakshmi is one of the strongest. She has created herself a new life. She is building a house and creating a business which just keeps growing. She has a tenacity rarely seen. And her talent! Oh my! I could just picture her work in my mind! When her new life starts to unravel….you need to read this to find out how…she LEARNS from it and does not let it stop her.

This book is super good. I have never read a book about a henna artist. I will be honest, I did not even know they existed. I was so impressed with Lakshmi’s courage, talent and intelligence. Plus, the culture in this read…I learned a great deal!

Do not miss this one! Grab your copy today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

About the Author

Alka Joshi is a graduate of Stanford University and received her M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts. She has worked as an advertising copywriter, a marketing consultant, and an illustrator. Alka was born in India, in the state of Rajasthan. Her family came to the United States when she was nine, and she now lives on California’s Monterey Peninsula with her husband and two misbehaving pups. The Henna Artist is her first novel. Visit her website and blog at


Author Website:

TWITTER: @alkajoshi

FB: @alkajoshi2019

Insta: @thealkajoshi






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About fredreeca

I am an avid reader and paper crafter. I am a mom of 2 children, 5 dogs and 1 cat. I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals Fan
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