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The Henna Artist

A Novel
Narrated by: Sneha Mathan
Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (119 ratings)

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Summary

A New York Times best seller

A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick

"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, 17-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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Alka Joshi (P)2020 HarperAudio
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Beautiful story

Not just a love story and not predictable at all. Beautiful love and sacrifice of family and dear friends. Loves every minute of it

1 person found this helpful

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Captivating

Loved it, struggled to put it down at some points. Excellent story and superbly written.

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Fabulous

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Beautifully written and narrated. Felt as though I was in India in the 50s.

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Mesmerizing - I felt like I was in India!

I have binged this over the past few days, and thoroughly enjoyed the journey Lakshmi and Radha took, I felt I was walking beside them!

I’m a henna artist myself so I felt especially excited to read a book all about henna 70 years ago in India.

I hope the rights are purchased for a movie - I want to meet these characters, see them with my eyes instead of my mind!

Beautifully written and the narrator is magnificent. The type of book that I know I will return to.


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Blissful

Beautifully written and beautifully read. I was lost in this book from start to finish.

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Evocative

Such a lovely story, written so well you can almost smell the Indian spices in the air and see the colours of the people. Characters you can enjoy their journeys with.

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Charming story, an easy listen.

After a slightly dull start this story blossomed into one full of charm and elegance, history and culture. The author created the scenes in my imagination with ease, using beautiful descriptions of places, people and colours. The characters were strong and I really didn't want it to end!

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nostalgic of a time india

if you have ever been to india this book will revive all your memories again. a bit predictable but so beautifully written you will be happy to go along for the ride.

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Loved it

Such a great story brilliantly narrated I adore novels immersed in different cultures I literally couldn't put it down Sneha Nathan is wonderful

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I couldn't stop listening

I really enjoyed this book, I didn't want to put it down! Very well narrated.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-04-20

Lyrical and inspiring

This debut novel is impossible to put down and swept me away on a tantalizing journey through 1950s Jaipur. I found the entire cast of characters fully realized in the author's lyrical words, and the story replete with color and culture. I especially enjoyed the clever interplay of the audience's realizations with the protagonist's, along with her internal discourse as she is faced with the hefty weight of fate and external machinations balancing on a knife's edge. Phenomenal book!

32 people found this helpful

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  • mary mateer
  • 23-04-20

Don’t read if you are pro-life

This book could have been so much better without the horrific abortion (=women’s rights) parts in it. I was so disappointed in the author’s decision to justify abortion.
The narrator was excellent as always, but I will not be reading any more of her books.

31 people found this helpful

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  • WI shopper
  • 25-03-20

Excellent!

The story is well narrated and keeps the listener engaged throughout. It was so interesting to learn about the mores of another culture. Recommend highly!

18 people found this helpful

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  • Jbo
  • 02-05-20

Heartwarming story about sisters and finding one’s calling

Excellent story and narration! The story takes place in India during the late 1940’s and highlights the challenges Indian women (especially working class) faced. I enjoyed the personal journey each of the main characters underwent while having to choose between personal desires and family needs. I definitely recommend this book to others who enjoy historical fiction and stories about overcoming the odds.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-05-20

Captivated from the start

If you are searching for your next listen/read, look no further. The author weaves a story rich in culture, diverse in topics, and with imagery so rich I could “see” the henna, the fabrics, the mandalas, etc. The story of trials and triumphs, perseverance, customs and traditions, new beginnings...this book has everything. This book makes me want to learn more about Indian culture while being relatable to any woman. The narrator has a tone and cadence that is beautiful and easy to follow. I couldn’t put this one down. I started yesterday and finished today. Easily the best book I’ve listed to in months!

11 people found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 13-05-20

Empowering - Purchase now!

I was immediately transported to India. I loved the story so much, I didn't want it to end.

10 people found this helpful

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  • H. Kirchbach
  • 18-05-20

Wonderful travel by book while sheltering in place !

I really enjoyed this debut novel. Joshi captures the small details very well, and makes the characters engaging. I particularly liked her descriptions of the colors and images - of the saris, the henna, the surroundings. The story played out well, the characters were well developed, their struggles were relatable and well written, the story had enough intrigue to keep me reading and a plot that made me want to know how it ended. Economic and social realities were not obliterated. But at the same time it was magical. It was a perfect read for "shelter-in-place," taking me somewhere else in my imagination, what struck me the most was the detailed description of everyday life, dress, ritual, homes, etc. on virtually every page. The intricacies of the details made me feel as if I were present: hearing, seeing, smelling and touching the heart of India. Great narration !

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jennifer Bello
  • 12-05-20

SO GOOD!

Everyone should listen or read this! It’s a beautiful story and so well written :) can’t wait to see more books that Alka Joshi writes!

4 people found this helpful

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  • enya keshet
  • 07-06-20

Missed potential

Good story materials, but a shallow,
repetitive, mediocre writing job left them weak and disappointing.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle
  • 30-05-20

Loved the book!! Should be a movie!

I would recommend this book! Great story I wish they would make it a movie!

3 people found this helpful