The Henna Artist
The Henna Artist is a novel by Alka Joshi based in Jaipur, India during the mid 1950’s. Our main character, Lakshmi is a renowned henna artist across the high elite in this city. However, Lakshmi has a past. She ran away from her village and her abusive husband in order to make a life for herself.
This is something horrible to do in India, since your whole family pays for that kind of sin. Despite the woman being recurrently abused and mistreated. The only positive thing Lakshmi gained from that marriage was her relationship with her mother in law. Who taught her all she knew about herbs. This allowed her to create some sort of livelihood for herself in the first few years away from home. Creating contraceptive teas for prostitutes in Agra.
Here, she meets Samir, the man who would introduce her to the finest ladies of Jaipur. All in exchange for her magical sachets for his mistresses. 13 years passed and business is blooming! She’s finally completing her dream of building her home. Which she wishes to share with her parents after they forgive her for deserting her marriage.
However, what she doesn’t expect is for her husband to apear. Especially along with a younger sister she never knew she had. This changes everything for Lakshmi, since she has a bigger responsibility and realizes her parents were dead.
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you’ll know I absolutely love reading stories based in India. I saw this book being featured in Reese’s Book Club on Instagram and knew I had to read it!
The Henna Artist doesn’t disappoint! This book will introduce you to a world of color, fragrance and flavor, everything I dream India to be. Along Lakshmi, you get thrown into a super posh Indian elite class, where secrets, mischief and saving face are everything. She gets to witness all their customs and adapt them in her own life.
At first she doesn’t appreciate Radha’s appearance as the blessing it really was. Since her values and goals were very disoriented from what they were before she did henna for these people. Radha shows her what true happiness should feel like. To serve others not only for beauty but for a greater good: to heal.
They both face numerous challenges that were punished by Indian Society. But at the same time, they’re always surrounded by the greatest of souls such as Malik, her servant boy and Kanta, one of her most loyal clients and friend. At the beginning we briefly come across with Dr. Kumar, a friend of Samir’s that becomes obsessed with Lakshmi’s knowledge of herbal medicine and – her- I presume.
Later along the story he appears again, opening doors for Lakshmi she never thought would open after leaving her marriage. But, this relationship doesn’t bloom as you would expect. Which was kind of a downer since I wanted her to experience what falling in love felt like and I thought Dr. Kumar was the perfect candidate.
However, a little bird told me there might be a TV Show starring Frieda Pinto! Alka Joshi is writing more material for following seasons!
Upcoming TV series Adaptation
As I said before, there’s going to be a TV series adaptation starring Freida Pinto as Lakshmi! Can you think of anyone better for the role?! I just loved her in Slumdog Millionare.
You can read all about it on Freida Pinto To Star In & Produce ‘The Henna Artist’ TV Series In Works From Miramax TV & Michael Edelstein