Alka Joshi brings Jaipur alive. I can taste the food, smell her herbs, and picture the beautiful henna designs. She has painted a beautiful portrait of two sisters: Lakshmi and Radha.
The yearning in Lakshmi is palpable throughout the book. For love, for recognition, for respect, and independence. She is a grey character whose growth happens organically. I am a mother, so I did scream in my head a few times to ask Lakshmi to go after her sister. To comfort, to guide, to scold, and to hug her. Sign of good writing to get me emotionally vested.
Radha is a child of thirteen. I was mad at Lakshmi for not understanding that. My heart broke many times for what this child had to endure. I had this insane desire to protect her from the minute she appears on the page. Hats off to Alka Joshi for creating such a beautiful character.
Many side characters are carefully woven into the story, adding depth to the story.
Lakshmi and Radha, two characters imbued with humanity and all its flaws. Looking forward to the sequel.