The Twentieth Wife: A Novel

The Twentieth Wife: A Novel

by Indu Sundaresan
4.4 94

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

The Twentieth Wife: A Novel by Indu Sundaresan

An enchanting historical epic of grand passion and adventure, this debut novel tells the captivating story of one of India's most controversial empresses — a woman whose brilliance and determination trumped myriad obstacles, and whose love shaped the course of the Mughal Empire. Skillfully blending the textures of historical reality with the rich and sensual imaginings of a timeless fairy tale, The Twentieth Wife sweeps readers up in Mehrunnisa's embattled love with Prince Salim, and in the bedazzling destiny of a woman — a legend in her own time — who was all but lost to history until now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743428187
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication date: 02/18/2003
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 224,482
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Indu Sundaresan was born in India and came to the US for graduate school at the University of Delaware. She is the author of The Twentieth Wife, The Feast of Roses, Splendor of Silence, In the Convent of Little Flowers, Shadow Princess, and The Mountain of Light.

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Twentieth Wife 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 94 reviews.
Volligtoll More than 1 year ago
Wow this book was much better than I thought it would be and proved to be a fast read too. Sundaresan has a wonderful talent of turning history into an amazing fairy tale, I could not put this book down. I loved how the story not only focused on the main love story but also included with amazing detail all of the political things that were going on in that time as well. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait to go out and get the second Feast of Roses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderfully descriptive book that really draws readers into the story. The main theme is a love story, however, it gives great historic details of the times of the Mughal Empire. It is highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had just finished reading The Red Tent and loved it. I was looking for a new book and the store did not have the one I was looking for. I found this one and after reading the back cover , I decided that would get it to read while the other one was being shipped. I am so pleased with my purchase. It is the fastest I have ever read a book. I bought it on a Monday and finished the folowing Monday. I learned so much about Indian history. I did more research on the subject and bought the second book tonight.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Though too young and way beneath his station, Mehrunnisa, the daughter of a Persian courtier to the Mughal Empire, plans to one day wed the heir apparent to the throne Salim. The very intelligent eight-year-old Mehrunnisa knows she needs a plan if she is to achieve her impossible dream of marrying her beloved whom barely knows she exists.

A few years later Mehrunnisa is forced to marry a cruel soldier. Besides abuse from her odious spouse, she suffers several miscarriages. However, she ultimately succeeds in gaining more than just the attention of Salim, who is now the Emperor Jahangir, she shares passion with him. Finally, Mehrunnisa accomplishes her dream goal, but though now a powerhouse empress she and her family paid quite a price for her attaining her childhood desires that she never let go of as an adult.

Historical fiction readers that relish a deep look at seventeenth century India will gain much pleasure from this descriptive tale. The story line is loaded with historical references with a very illuminating portrayal of Mughal court life. However, the wealth of information, which seems authentic to this pre-school novice on the history of India, overwhelms the characters and thus undercuts the prime tale of Mehrunnisa¿s efforts to become the empress. Indu Sundaresan provides a vivid tale that the hard core sub-genre audience will want to read, but the weak characters make it difficult for casual fans to care what happens to Mehrunnisa or anyone else.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the story, the passion , the obstacle she has to go thru just for the one she love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
archetype67 More than 1 year ago
Fascinating story based in the history of India's Mughal Empire. The story is about Mehrunnisa, daughter of a poor Persian who comes to the empire to make his fortune. She meets the son of Emperor Akbar (third of the Mughal) prince Salim when eight, and falls in love with him on his wedding day, and decides that someday, she will become his wife. Through brief encounters, Salim becomes fascinated with her, much to the disapproval of his powerful third wife, Jagat Gosain. The novel then follows Mehrunnisa's marriage to another Persian —a decorated soldier in Akbar's army, the rebellions of Salim against Akbar (where her husband betrays Salim), the reconciliation between father and son, and Salim's rise to power as Emperor Jahangir. Like his father, Salim's eldest son rebels, with the help of Mehrunnisa's husband. We also see how Jagat Gosain works to prevent Mehrunnisa and Salim from being together. Ultimately, however, it is the story of how, throughout the years, she held a power over him that no other in his harem of 19 wives and hundreds of concubines held over him. Sundaresan creates a wonderful, vivid picture of the world of late 16th to early 17th Century India. The vastness of the Mughal Empire, the climate and customs of the period, the variety of it's people, and the complexity of the politics of the time are woven together to create an engaging story. There was a nice balance between providing the details and terms while not reading like a textbook explaining every term and custom. All of the main characters were distinct, and fully realized — each with their own voice and behaviors, letting me sink into the story despite my unfamiliarity with the setting - historical and cultural.  I look forward to reading the two following books by Sundaresan - the next dealing with Mehrunnisa's rise to be the premier wife, and the power behind the thrown. I always enjoy reading about the unconventional women of history.
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Who doesn't want to be a princess when they grow up? I would love to know the truth behind this story.
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Trudy-DedicatedReader More than 1 year ago
When I read this for the first time, I couldn't put it down. The story of Mehrunnisa is set in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, but seems like it is happening today. Her heartaches are so like ours today, different contex, but achingly familiar! Why isn't history told in stories like this? The next book, "Feast of Roses", continues her story and includes the Taj Mahal and it's creation. I have given this book to several people and keep mine to read again and again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Actually read this after the sequel and was pleasantly surprised that not only is it as richly descriptive of a foreign time, place and customs, but that it is better paced tham Feast of Roses.
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