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The Henna Artist

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

A beguiling and beautifully written story of a strong, intelligent and independent woman



Seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone from her rural village to Jaipur, to escape from an arranged and abusive marriage, She becomes a henna artist and a trusted confidante to Jaipur’s upper class women.

Lakshmi is known for her original henna designs and sage advice. She avoids the jealous women who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled when her husband and a sister she never knew she had, shows up on her doorstep. Suddenly the discreet life that she has carefully cultivated is threatened.

“Independence changed everything. Independence changed nothing.”


THE HENNA ARTIST is a book as beguiling as the henna art painstakingly painted on the hands of the women of Jaipur. It’s an endearing and enthralling story of a woman full of courage and perseverance. Lakshmi is a character for the ages, trying to balance both work and family.

The writing is atmospheric. You will immediately begin to feel the dust and chaos of the city, and see the beautiful sari’s and brightly painted hands. Set in the mid-1950’s, Lakshmi portrays a strong, intelligent and independent woman struggling to succeed in both a traditional and modern post-independence India era.

The Henna Artist is author Alia Joshi’s first novel and it is both a stunning and beautifully written story. One of life’s pleasure is a book that surprises you and this one certain did that for me. This is a must read book for 2020.

Born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, Joshi has lived in the U.S. since the age of nine. She graduated from Stanford University and worked in advertising/PR before starting her own marketing firm. In 2011, she obtained her MFA in Creative Writing from the California College of Arts in San Francisco, California.

“He deserves paradise who makes his companions laugh.”

Publisher Harper Collins

Published March 3, 2020

Narrated Sneha Mathan

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