#BookReview The Secret Keeper of Jaipur (The Henna Artist 2) by Alka Joshi @RandomTTours @Harper360UK

Secret Keeper Jaipur BT Poster

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi, the follow-up to the best-selling The Henna Artist. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Mira Books for my digital review copy.

The Secret Keeper of JaipurAbout the Book

It’s the spring of 1969 and Lakshmi, now married to Dr. Jay Kumar, directs the Healing Garden in Shimla. Malik has finished his private school education. At twenty, he has just met a young woman named Nimmi when he leaves to apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project: a state-of-the-art cinema.

Malik soon finds that not much has changed as he navigates the Pink City of his childhood. Power and money still move seamlessly among the wealthy class, and favours flow from Jaipur’s Royal Palace, but only if certain secrets remain buried. When the cinema’s balcony tragically collapses on opening night, blame is placed where it is convenient. But Malik suspects something far darker and sets out to uncover the truth. As a former street child, he always knew to keep his own counsel; it’s a lesson that will serve him as he untangles a web of lies.

Format: ebook (384 pages)             Publisher: Mira Books
Publication date: 22nd June 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction

Find The Secret Keeper of Jaipur (The Henna Artist 2) on Goodreads

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My Review

Readers who, like me, have not read The Henna Artist need not fear because the author has done everything possible to ensure The Secret Keeper of Jaipur can be enjoyed as a standalone. There’s a comprehensive character list and background information about events in the lives of the main characters from the first book is subtly woven into the story. This includes the henna artist herself, Lakshmi, now married to a doctor, Jay Kumar.

With her ward, Malik, dispatched to Jaipur to learn the construction trade, Lakshmi offers a role working alongside her in the Healing Garden at the hospital where her husband works to a young widow, Nimmi. Initially I was rather suspicious of Lakshmi’s motives in sending Malik away, thinking it was all about her trying to exercise control over his life and her ambitions for his future. However, I came to believe her concern for Nimmi and her children was sincere and that her actions were a desire to provide Nimmi with a source of income and the independence that comes with it, an independence that Lakshmi herself has fought to secure. As it happens, although separated, both Nimmi and Malik in different ways uncover a web of illegal activity that ranges from nepotism to corruption, and worse.

Moving between Shimla, the Himalayas and Jaipur in the months before the dramatic event that opens the book, the story unfolds from the points of view of Lakshmi, Nimmi and Malik. The sights and sounds of India are vividly evoked, whether that’s the steep trails through the Himalayas or the streets of Jaipur, the so-called Pink City. It was also fascinating to learn about the lives and customs of nomadic mountain tribes like the one to which Nimmi belongs and to get a glimpse of life for those higher up the social order. And you can add tastes and scents to the sensory experience because, in addition to the extensive glossary at the end of the book, the author has included a favourite family recipe and the instructions for making a very special cocktail.

All in all, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur contains all the ingredients for a deliciously engaging read.

In three words: Atmospheric, intriguing, immersive

Try something similar: The Inside City by Anita Mir

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Alka Joshi Author PicAbout the Author

Alka Joshi is a graduate of Stanford University and received her MFA from the California College of the Arts. She has worked as an advertising copywriter, a marketing consultant and an illustrator. Alka was born in India, in the state of Rajasthan. Her family moved to the USA when she was nine, and she now lives on California’s Monterey Peninsula with her husband and two misbehaving pups. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is her second novel.

Connect with Alka
Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Secret Keeper Graphic 1

4 thoughts on “#BookReview The Secret Keeper of Jaipur (The Henna Artist 2) by Alka Joshi @RandomTTours @Harper360UK

  1. Wonderful review Cathy. I listened to this one this past weekend and enjoyed it. I did read The Henna Artist and I totally agree, I could have read this one without reading the first, but it did give me some closure to what happened to Lakshmi and Malak. I really enjoyed the audiobook with some great narrators.

    Liked by 2 people

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