Novel Idea: Janet Hensen

Name: Janet Hensen

Job title: Information services manager for the Jackson County Public Library

What’s the name of the book and author you are recommending?

I read “The Henna Artist” by Alka Joshi. We have it in the Seymour Library in regular or large print, and the e-audiobook is available on both Libby and hoopla.

What made you want to pick up this book in the first place?

This was the April book for the Tuesday Night Book Club that we have at the Seymour Library. It wasn’t my pick since we all get to choose books for the year, but I am glad I had a reason to read it.

Once you got into the book, what made you want to keep reading it?

I need to be drawn to the characters to keep reading any book. I thought the author made the characters relatable and showed their strengths but also their flaws and weaknesses. For example, Lakshmi had to be strong to be a successful businesswoman because of her past, but she was so vulnerable and made mistakes when it came to her sister.

Once you finished the book, what did you like about it?

I liked that all of the major characters had experienced growth, which sometimes came in unexpected and painful ways.

What is the book about?

It is set in 1950s India. Lakshmi has established herself and is making a good living as a henna artist to the wealthy women of Jaipur. She has needed to become an expert in juggling secrets and has ambitions to become more than a henna artist; however, her past catches up with her in the form of the abusive husband she left behind 13 years earlier, accompanied by a younger sister that she didn’t know existed. Suddenly, her dreams of owning her own house and furthering her career become much more challenging.

Why would you recommend this book to others?

The Indian setting and culture were different than anything I had read before, particularly set in that time period. Overall, it was an engrossing book with relatable characters. I was excited to hear that a sequel is expected to be available in June 2021.