In New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi's new novel, henna artist Lakshmi arranges for her protégé, Malik, to intern at the Jaipur palace in a tale rich in character, atmosphere, intrigue and lavish storytelling.
It's the spring of 1969, and Lakshmi, now married to Dr. Jay Kumar, is working at the Shimla community clinic. Malik has finished his private school education. At twenty, he has just met a young tribal woman, Nimmi, when he leaves to begin an apprenticeship at the palace facilities in Jaipur. The royals' 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 favors 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. Malik suspects something far darker and sets out to uncover the truth. As a young street urchin, he always knew to keep his own counsel; it's a lesson that still serves him well. But it is only when Lakshmi, the real keeper of Jaipur's secrets, intervenes that things can truly right themselves.
Born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, Alka Joshi has lived in the U.S. since the age of nine. She has a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of the Arts. She ran her own advertising and PR agency for 30 years. The Henna Artist was her first novel. Currently, she is working on the third book of the trilogy and a screen adaption of The Henna Artist.