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.
Malik, now twenty and finished his private school education, 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 the 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 has served him well. But it is only when Lakshmi, the real keeper of Jaipur’s secrets, intervenes that things truly right themselves.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Expanding on the bustling cross-section of Indian life she introduced in The Henna Artist, Alka Joshi revisits the central characters a dozen years later in this equally moving sequel. Opening at the end of the 1960s, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur sees protagonist Lakshmi now happily married while her protégé Malik seeks his own partner. Broadening the focus to touch on wealth and corruption while documenting the growing pains of Malik and others, the novel successfully tempers romance with realism. The second in a planned trilogy, it doubles as a sumptuous sensory tour of India at the time, the food and fashion especially. The book includes a glossary of terms and recipes, plus a handy guide to the wide cast of characters.