The Henna Artist
By Alka Joshi
5 out of 5 stars
Lakshmi is a sought-after henna artist in post-British rule Jaipur, India. She has numerous wealthy clients that she applies intricate henna designs onto their hands and feet. Lakshmi’s business is growing and she is finally starting to get things she has dreamed of; her own house and a chance at meeting the maharani. Lakshmi’s life is turned outside down when she finds out she has a thirteen-year-old sister, Radha, and her parents are both dead Lakshmi takes Radha in and slowly her life seems to unravel and be turned upside down all at the same time.
Alka Joshi weaves such a magnificent story. She writes of the rich history of India while teaching readers all about the ways of Indian life after British rule. She also lets readers experience what it is like to be a woman in 1950’s India. So many things were not accessible to women and yet they were still able to do so much with what they did have.
This book kept me entertained and made me want to learn so much more about henna and India in general. I knew what henna was before reading this book, but had no idea how culturally significant it was and how much people believe it can help or enhance their lives. It was also interesting to learn about the different caste systems in India, even though the book only briefly touches on them. I highly recommend this book, especially if you enjoy learning about different cultures.