The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi is the second of three books in The Henna Artist series. I reviewed The Henna Artist earlier this year. I chose that book because it had a red cover that I needed for a book challenge. The cover of this new book is even more beautiful and the story is just as good as the first. While this novel can be read as a stand-alone, like most series, it is best to start with the first book. It feels like visiting old friends when the books are read in order.
The Secret Keeper of Jaipur starts in 1969, 12 years after the end of The Henna Artist. Lakshmi has been married to Dr. Jay Kumar for six years. They live in Shimla India where she maintains the Healing Garden outside of Dr. Kumar’s clinic. When Lakshmi moved to Shimla, her ward, Malik, came with her. Malik is now 20 years old. He has fallen in love with Nimmi, a young widow with two children.
At Lakshmi’s request, Malik leaves Shimla to apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace under the guidance of a dear family friend, Manu. His departure causes friction between Lakshmi and Nimmi. In Jaipur, the new state-of-the-art cinema that was paid for by the palace and constructed by Singh Sharma architects and construction company collapses on opening night. The politics of the rich and powerful come into play in order to cover up who was at fault. When the blame is placed on Manu, Malik is determined to find the truth. An incident that involves Nimmi’s brother gives the clue to the mystery. Lakshmi returns to Jaipur and uses her connections with the Royal Palace to hopefully give Malik time to prove Manu’s innocence.
I listened to the audio book which is beautifully read by three narrators for Lakshmi, Malik, and Nimmi. Alka Joshi is a masterful storyteller. I am looking forward to book three of this series.
4 plus stars.