“Alka Joshi does a fantastic job of creating strong, but distinct female characters”

~ Under the Covers

Recommended Read!

It was such a pleasure reading Alka Joshi’s second book, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur ! I truly feel that it lived up to the expectations created by her debut novel, The Henna Artist.

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur takes place twelve years after The Henna Artist ends and the reader is reunited with most of the characters from that book. However, the focus of this novel is not on Lakshmi, but rather on Malik, Lakshmi’s former assistant and in many ways adopted brother. Malik has grown from a cheeky boy into an accomplished young man. Still the scars of his past remain and he is somewhat uncertain of his place in the wider world. Furthermore, at the start of the novel, Malik finds himself unexpectedly caught between Lakshmi’s expectations and his own desires. While dealing with this internal struggle, Malik must also figure out a way to help family friend, Manu Agrawal, with an unexpected crisis that threatens to ruin Manu’s good name.

One thing that I loved about The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is that even though it is a sequel to The Henna Artist, it can still be enjoyed as a standalone novel. Alka Joshi does a fantastic job of rehashing the key events of The Henna Artist in such a way that it is easy to understand for a new reader, but at the same time will not prove boring for returning readers.

As I’ve already mentioned, in this book we are reunited with most of the characters of The Henna Artist. Reading about these characters again felt almost like catching up with old friends after some time apart. It was also satisfying to see some of the characters finally receive their just deserts for their actions in The Henna Artist.

While it was great to re-visit old favorites, I also really enjoyed getting to know the character of Nimmi, Malik’s new love interest. In my opinion, Alka Joshi does a fantastic job of creating strong, but distinct female characters. Nimmi is very different from the character of Lakshmi, having been raised in a different culture and holding very different values. However, one thing that both women can agree on is that they will do anything to help their families. It made for a great story watching the two of them clash at times, but ultimately find a way to reach an understanding with one another.

In my opinion, Alka Joshi has created another masterpiece with The Secret Keeper of Jaipur. This novel gives us a glimpse of life in 1960s India through the eyes of characters, who feel as real as you and I. I honestly can’t wait to see what she comes up with next and think that this is a book that everyone should pick up.


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[about-author author=”Alka Joshi”]

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