Shelf Control #281: The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: The Henna Artist
Author: Alka Joshi
Published: 2020
Length: 384 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

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. 

How and when I got it:

I bought the Kindle edition last year.

Why I want to read it:

I always keep an eye on Reese Witherspoon’s book club selections — this was the May 2020 pick. I don’t read every single one of the Hello Sunshine books, but it’s a good bet that the books will at least be worth considering!

I’m always up for a book about a time and place that I haven’t read much about before. I love the sound of this historical novel, both in terms of the era and the setting in India. Plus, I always love reading about women’s struggles to set their own course and find independence in a time when such things just didn’t happen or weren’t socially acceptable.

I share my Kindle library with my husband and daughter, and so far, my family members have read and loved this book, even though I haven’t touched it yet!

A sequel was just released in June 2021, so I have even more incentive to dive in!

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

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Buy now: Amazon – Book Depository –

10 thoughts on “Shelf Control #281: The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

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