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The Henna Artist

A Novel
Narrated by: Sneha Mathan
Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
5 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

Non-member price: $42.90

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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Brilliant !!!!!!!!!!!! Loved everything!

Superb narrator!! Brilliant story. I only wish it was longer cause I enjoyed it so much.

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Entertaining listen

I enjoyed this book as what I would call an ‘easy read’. The story is simple, the cultural aspects interesting. I am not usually a fan of female narrators, however, Sneha was easy to listen to and added authenticity to the story.

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Take me away

Such a lovely story, the narration was fantastic and i got dragged right into all aspects of the story.

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Captivating from start to end

Alka Joshi is a brilliant writer. This story is very humbling and exciting at the same time and Sneha Mathan has done an outstanding narration of this book. Would re listen over and over again!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-04-2020

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!

19 people found this helpful

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  • WI shopper
  • 25-03-2020

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!

14 people found this helpful

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  • mary mateer
  • 23-04-2020

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.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Jbo
  • 02-05-2020

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-05-2020

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!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 13-05-2020

Empowering - Purchase now!

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

5 people found this helpful

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  • H. Kirchbach
  • 18-05-2020

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 !

2 people found this helpful

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  • Isabel Da Silva
  • 18-05-2020

Transported to another world

Loved every minute of this story as well as all the characters. I’ve never been to India but this gave me a colorful insight. Thanks Alka

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  • R. Tang
  • 16-05-2020

Thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Loved the narrator’s soothing voice - she was fantastic, as was the story. I wish it didn’t end!

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  • Jennifer Bello
  • 12-05-2020

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!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Helen
  • 23-05-2020

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-05-2020

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

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  • Judimaxx
  • 19-05-2020

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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  • Mintychristine
  • 18-05-2020

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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  • Pen Name
  • 17-05-2020

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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  • B. Plummer
  • 09-05-2020

loved it

this was such a beautiful book to listen to, the story line was poignant, emotional sometimes sad, I listened to ot over 2 days in May of my time in #lockdown 2020.

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  • Helena
  • 05-04-2020

Superb listening

Having just visited Jaipur and Shimla this novel was fabulous. Full of the colour and life of India. So much attention to detail and a sensitive understanding of all the differing attitudes of the characters. Thank you for a beautifully crafted piece of writing.

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  • Diana Judd
  • 14-03-2020

very good story

loved it and very well read - full of twists and turns and a good insight into India in the '50s