Blog tour: The Secret Keeper of Jaipur

Welcome to the blog tour for The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi.

More 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 school 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

More about the author…

Alka Joshi is a graduate of Stanford University and received her MFA from the California College of the 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 she now lives on California’s Monterey Peninsula with her husband and two misbehaving pups. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is her second novel.

My thoughts…

How did this book end up in my hands? I received a free review copy of the book from the publisher so that I could participate in this blog tour.

Was it a page-turner? Absolutely. Due to circumstances that were out of my control, I wasn’t able to pick up the book one day and I was gutted. The novel is utterly engaging and there is plenty of action considering that a lot of space is given to human connections and observations on human nature. The author achieved a great balance and this book will tick a lot of boxes for different readers.

Did the book meet my expectations? Truth be told, I didn’t even read the synopsis before asking to participate in this blog tour. One look at that splendid cover and the mention of Jaipur were enough to catch my attention. That’s how I missed the detail of this being a sequel to The Henna Artist. Whoops! Not having read the first book in what turns out to be a trilogy, however, didn’t turn out to be an obstacle. While it would have been lovely to meet Malik, Lakshmi and some of the other characters as if they were old friends, I was still able to get close to them and feel invested in their happiness. If a cast of extraordinary characters and an engaging narrative were not enough, the amazing sense of place that exudes from the pages was able to take me back to my beloved Shimla and Jaipur. This is what we call ‘travel in the time of Covid-19’.

Three words to describe it. Regal. Engrossing. Evocative.

Do I like the cover? It seems unnecessary to say it but here it is: it is exceptionally stunning! The composition, the colours….it’s perfect.

Have I read any other books by the same author? The Henna Artist has been on my wish list for the longest of times (well, since it came out!) but I haven’t read it yet. I definitely want to catch up before the last book in the trilogy is published though.

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