The latest pick for Reese Witherspoon’s popular book club is The Henna Artist, Alka Joshi’s debut novel about a teenage girl from rural India who moves to the large city of Jaipur to pursue an independent life.
Witherspoon announced the selection on Instagram, her favored social media platform.
“This vivid story is so rich and complex... reading about Lakshmi's journey from escaping an abusive marriage to becoming one of the most sought-after henna artists in Jaipur captivated me from the first chapter to the final page,” the actress wrote.
Joshi shared the news with an Instagram post of her own, writing, “I’m so honored to be in the company of other Reese authors and this fabulous book community. I’m feeling the love, y’all.” The Henna Artist is the first book by Joshi, a Stanford graduate and immigrant to the U.S. from India.
Witherspoon started her book club, which is run by her media company Hello Sunshine, in June of 2017, with Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine as the first selection. Picks since then have included Ann Patchett’s This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Balli Kaur Jaswal’s Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing, and Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.