Monday, 28 June 2021

#BlogTour The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi


It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi.

About the Author

Alka Joshi is a graduate of Stanford University and received her MFA from the California College of 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 now she lives on California's Monterey Peninsula with her husband and two misbehaving pups. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is her second novel. Visit her website and blog at www.thehennaartist.com, Follow @alkajoshi on Twitter,

About the book 

Henna artist Lakshmi arranges for her protégé, Malik, to intern at the Jaipur Palace in this tale rich in character, atmosphere, and lavish storytelling. 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 shool 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.

Review

The magic of The Henna Artist still prevails in this second part of the trilogy, although Lakshmi doesn't feature as heavily in this book the essence of culture, heritage and the surroundings the author brings to the table is still what makes the read.

Both books can be read as standalone novels, which is important to note, however I would definitely suggest reading the first in the series just because it is such a great book.

Lakshmi's assistant Malik is making his way in the big world, leaving behind a fledgling relationship and heading towards a quagmire of lies, antiquated societal rules, destruction and deception. He finds himself in the midst of a struggle for power and money.

The juxtaposition of Lakshmi and Nimmi is a poignant element of the book. It demonstrates the difference in status, but interestingly instead of presenting or writing Nimmi as the uneducated submissive, Joshi let's the hesitation, lack of trust and occasional animosity shine through. The equality of their gender becomes the basis for their relationship.

It's a captivating balance between people, country, sights, sounds and smells. Said balance is tipped back and forth as the threads of betrayal, class structure, shame and elitist dishonesty are woven through Jaipur and the lives of the characters. It's a beautiful written and riveting story often filled with lyrical prose - I can't wait to read more by this author.

Buy The Secret Keeper of Jaipur at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher pub date 24th June 2021|Hardback £18.99 | Mira Books, an imprint of HarperCollins also available in ebook and audiobook. Buy at Amazon com. At Waterstones.

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