The Henna Artist Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
|New from||Used from|
Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
|Free with your Audible trial|
Paperback, International Edition
Audio CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
A New York Times Best Seller
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick
"Captivated me from the first chapter to the final page." (Reese Witherspoon)
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.
“Eloquent and moving…Joshi masterfully balances a yearning for self-discovery with the need for familial love.” (Publishers Weekly)
Look for The Secret Keeper of Jaipur from New York Times best-selling author Alka Joshi!
- Free trial includes 1 credit in your first month good for any title of your choice, yours to keep.
- Plus, you can enjoy unlimited listening to The Plus Catalogue—thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks.
- You'll unlock exclusive member-only sales, as well as 30% off your purchases of any additional titles.
- After 30 days Audible is $14.95/month + applicable taxes. Renews automatically.
People who bought this also bought
Related to this topic
|Listening Length||10 hours and 56 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||March 03 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #734 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#15 in World Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
#19 in Cultural Heritage Historical Fiction
#48 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in Canada on April 5, 2021
Reviews with images
Top reviews from Canada
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Let's start with wow. Alka Joshi's debut novel is one that will keep you captivated and entranced from the very first page. I can definitely see what all the hype is about, and I match @reesesbookclub appreciation for this masterpiece.
The Henna Artist is a brilliant story story about a henna artist living in Jaipur, India during the post-independence era. In Lakshmi's hometown, she is known for bringing shame to her family after abandoning her husband 13 years prior. In Jaipur, she is known for her intricate, unique henna designs. She caters to the elite, but her ambition knows no bounds. Her talents extend beyond henna, but this secret is known by few. However, her world is turned upside down when her estranged husband shows up with a 13 year old girl in tow, claiming to be Lakshmi's sister. Lakshmi must teach her sister many lessons to help her fit in, but she also has a lot to learn in order to truly be happy.
I only have compliments for this incredible read. Joshi transports the reader into this world from the first page. I felt so connected to the story that when my sister complained about her sore feet, I rushed to the bathroom to find my magnolia oil. Of course, I don't have magnolia oil, but while reading this novel, I felt like everything was right in front of me. Her characters are just beautiful. I thought of Lakshmi as my friend. I applauded her success at every turn, I felt her indignation, anger, and betrayal down to my core. I went from hating characters, to feeling intense empathy for them. I surprised myself at how deeply I felt each emotion throughout this novel.
I can't promise that you will love it as much as I did, but I can assure you that you will go on an incredible journey.
The novel follows the life and struggles of Lakshmi, who is often fighting her own demons and trying desperately to keep her own secrets silenced. She is thrown into a number of different situations that don't always turn out the way she hopes. Her nerve, perseverance, and love for healing make her a character that you keep rooting for. The author also does such an incredible job of bringing the streets of Jaipur to life - I truly felt like I was traveling alongside Lakshmi.
This book was a pretty quick read, mostly because I never wanted to put it down! I finished reading it in about 3 days (I tried to take my time!) and I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be taken on a journey of a woman's highs and lows and how she perseveres to find peace for herself and her family. I can't wait for the author to write another novel!
way. The description of Indian casts and culture is just so multilayered and colourful
as one can imagine. I like the timing of the book in 1950's
I found elements of the story carried a Harlequin romance touch. However there was sufficient down to earth harsh facts of life that ameliorated the foolish bits. I enjoyed the read.
Top reviews from other countries
My knowledge of India and Indian culture is somewhat limited; I live in Glastonbury, a very new age hippie place (which I love), so I’m constantly hearing people talk about their life-changing trips to ‘Mother India’ where they inevitably change their names to something like ‘Jaya’ or ‘Deva’ or something like that. (And yup, it always seems to be white women who do this, and as a white woman I’m aware of the privilege that allows us to go on a jolly to India and come back with a name given by a ‘guru.’) With this in mind, it was refreshing to read a story set in India, written by an Indian woman, with an insight into what life there is actually like, without any of the white nonsense about spiritual enlightenment. Forgive me, I’m rambling.
Back to the book itself. The book walks the line between character-driven and plot-driven story perfectly: the characters are richly developed; there aren’t any clear-cut ‘villains.’ Everyone’s motives are understood and you find yourself sympathising with and understanding why they behave they way they do. The plot unfolds gently, with enough happening along the way to keep those who favour a plot-driven story interested. This is literary fiction at its most approachable- intelligent yet accessible, educational yet entertaining.
The descriptions are lush and evocative- you can almost smell the spices of the food, hear the sounds of the streets, and feel the coolness of henna being drawn onto your skin. You fall in love with the characters, especially the heroine, Lakshmi. And I defy you not to fall in love with little Malik. I’d read a sequel about him alone. (Hint hint, Ms Joshi, if you’re reading this.)
I won’t say much about the plot itself, cuz if you haven’t noticed by now, I tend to overshare and don’t want to ruin the story for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. All I will say is be prepared to go on a journey, to learn, to laugh, and to find out that things have a way of working out for the best in ways you didn’t expect.
The author has thoughtfully included a glossary of Indian language in the back of the book, as well as a brief explanation of the caste system- and recipes, which I fully intend to try out ASAP. I loved this book so much that I’m going to order the actually physical copy of it as soon as it’s available again. (I generally prefer an actual book over a kindle version, but it wasn’t going to be in stock for a while, and I was too impatient to read it so ordered it on kindle.)
Five stars aren’t enough. Ten stars, at least.
The author took me by the hand and transported me to India a country I have visited several times and find fascinating - turning through the pages I was in Jaipur, in the 1950's a country still ruled by strict social etiquette and a class system.
I was a little apprehensive when I turned the first few pages and there was a biography of characters. Usually this means so many characters and little development of them and confusion, but I didn't need it and I need not have worried.
The main character is Lakshmi who fled an abusive marriage years before and ended up in Jaipur. Over the years she has developed a skill of being a henna artist and has a long list wealthy clients. She is a proud woman who has worked hard, and has saved enough to purchase a home of her own.
As Lakshmi continues to work to pay off her debts for the house he ex abusive husband arrives bringing with him a surprise sister. A sister she didn't know existed, thirteen year old Radha a vulnerable teenager.
As with all families their relationship is tested to the max and Lakshmi is torn with guilt.
Lakshmi is also a healer with herbal remedies and she uses the herbal remedies at times to help women who don't want to be mothers, or who are struggling to become mothers. Cultural challenges develop between city life and village life.
This is a book that will take you through each of the characters lives and the understanding of how people can change and make changes. The descriptions are so clear you really can smell the herbs, hear the peoples hearts breaking.
Some great secondary characters in the story, I was fascinated by the caste system and the way the women are treated as well as learning about the henna painting and how it plays an important part of these women lives.
Such a colourful story, with culture and characters galore. Unexpected, expected I was hooked to the many swirls to the story. Shattered, happy, perplexed, surprised it has it all. The ending put a great smile on my face. I am hoping that their will be a second book so we can continue with Lakshmi's new adventures.
The descriptive quality of her writing is colourful beyond any imagination. While reading this book, every sense is stimulated: you smell, taste, see, hear, feel all the wonders of life in India in the 1950s, shortly after gaining independence.
But that isn’t all, we are drawn into Lakshmi Shastri’s life, the people of every caste who influenced her, and whose life she influenced as well.
This book is a wonderful read; I can’t wait to start the next part of The Jaipur Trilogy.
The little boy character Malik brought humour and affection into the story. I loved it.