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  • Writer's pictureBambina Diaries

Virtual Book Club: The Henna Artist

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

Our last virtual book club was a huge success and so we decided to choose another great read for this month - The Henna Artist! Scroll down to join in on the fun as we take a trip to a whole new world.

Here's a quick synopsis of the book:

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 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.

Where you can buy it:

About the Author - Alka Joshi

Born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, Alka has lived in the U.S. since the age of nine. She graduated from Stanford University and worked in the fields of advertising and PR before starting her own marketing consultancy. In 2011, she obtained her MFA in Creative Writing from the California College of Arts in San Francisco, California. The Henna Artist is her first novel. 

Alka shares her writing and publishing process on her YouTube channel:

Book Club Details:

We are officially meeting again this week with our book club members and because we know that everyone's schedule can get hectic during this time, we wanted to share our book club questions with all of you. That way, if decide to purchase the book too, you can follow along at your own pace.

DM us @bambinadiaries if you have any questions and stay tuned each week as we update this blog with new questions.

The author joined us during our last Book Club meeting! See below and we linked the whole thing for you to watch.

Watch here:

Book Club Questions

Part 1 & 2

  1. What did you know about henna before this book?  Has your opinion of henna artists changed?

  2. What are the similarities and differences between Lakshmi and the women she serves in Jaipur?  What about between Lakshmi and the courtesans she served in Agra?  Who has more freedom and who has more advantages?

  3. What did you think of the sachets Lakshmi provided women?  Was she truly helping them or just the men who used them?

  4. What does Malik bring to the story?  Why do you think he and Lakshmi were so close?

  5. What did you think of Lakshmi’s relationship with Samir?  Would you define it as a friendship?

  6. Radha is a powerful force that completely changes Lakshmi’s life--what do you think of their relationship?

  7. What did you think of the character of Hari, Lakshmi’s estranged husband?  Is it possible for someone to change?  Should Lakshmi have treated him differently?

  8. Lakshmi’s sister Radha has a very hard upbringing as her family was shamed when Lakshmi fled her marriage and the village. Women in the village gave Radha the cruel nickname of the “bad luck girl.” Let’s talk about how Radha eventually overcame that negative image that others created for her. 

Part 3 & 4

For this section we are covering these topics below:

  • Radhas surprise pregnancy

  • Kanta's miscarriage

  • The gossip that ruined Lakshmi’s reputation

  • Lakshmi's love life

  • Where do we think the book will take our characters next?

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