Meet Alka Joshi, Author of The Perfumist of Paris

On Thursday, April 20 at 6:30 PM, San Mateo County Libraries welcomes author Alka Joshi, opens a new window to discuss the final book in her Jaipur Trilogy, The Perfumist of Paris. We’re so excited to have Alka visit us again and to hear all of your questions!

Make sure to register in order to receive your Zoom invitation.    

The Perfumist of Paris and the Jaipur Trilogy 

The Jaipur Trilogy begins with The Henna Artist, a vivid and compelling portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern.  Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s city of Jaipur.  There, she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class.  While she keeps the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own.  When her husband tracks her down years later with Radha, a sister Lakshmi never knew she had, suddenly Lakshmi’s carefully cultivated life is threatened.  

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur returns to the world of The Henna Artist in the spring of 1969. Lakshmi now directs the Healing Garden in Shimla. At twenty, her protégé Malik has just finished his private school education and leaves to apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace.  Not much has changed as Malik navigates the Pink City of his childhood.  Power and money still move seamlessly among the wealthy class, and favors flow from Jaipur’s Royal Palace, but only if certain secrets remain buried.  

In The Perfumist of Paris, the final chapter of the bestselling Jaipur trilogy, the year is 1974 and Radha is living in Paris with her family and her passion: working as a perfumer. Hiding her own secret, Radha throws herself into her first major project and travels to India, where she enlists the help of her sister, Lakshmi, and the courtesans of Agra—women who use the power of fragrance to seduce, tease, and entice. On the cusp of a breakthrough, she finds out that the son she never told her husband about is heading to Paris to find her.  

Get to know Alka Joshi 

“I write for two main reasons: to promote the idea that all women deserve agency to make the decisions that impact their future; and to show the world how many positive contributions India has made to the world.” — Interview with India Currents  

Alka wrote advertising commercials and marketing copy for decades before being encouraged by her husband to try fiction.  After receiving an MFA in Creative Writing from California College of Arts, she finally began to feel like a semi-serious writer.  Her debut book, The Henna Artist, is a New York Times Bestseller, a USA Today Bestseller, a Publishers Weekly Bestseller, and a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick. It is being developed into a Netflix limited series.  

Praise for The Jaipur Trilogy 

“Joshi proves yet again that she's an exemplary storyteller, effortlessly weaving together a tale of long-buried secrets, the pursuit of one's true calling, and the moment of reckoning when it all collides. The Perfumist of Paris is a sensory reading experience, teeming with sumptuous detail about the art of blending fragrance. Complex, intelligent, and emotionally charged, Joshi's final installment is as captivating as we've come to expect from her. Readers will devour—or shall I say inhale?—this one.” — Sarah Penner (The Lost Apothecary

The Henna Artist is an amiable and entertaining debut novel about an important theme — balancing family with personal ambition — that allows readers to escape into a fantasy teeming with sensory pleasure.” — San Francisco Chronicle 

“In this timeless tale of loyalty, ambition, and love, Joshi explores what it means to create and build--from architectural marvels to chosen families--in a way that not only endures but inspires.”-- Nancy Jooyoun Kim (The Last Story of Mina Lee) on The Secret Keeper of Jaipur