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Book Review: The Twentieth Wife

Updated on June 19, 2013
The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan - a beautiful narrative about the Mughal emperor and his lady-love.
The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan - a beautiful narrative about the Mughal emperor and his lady-love. | Source

About the book (My first hub)

The Twentieth Wife By Indu Sundaresan is my all-time favourite novel! This mesmerizing magnum opus takes readers on a roller coaster ride back to the 16th-17th century India at its height of Mughal monumental magnificence! The author had fashioned this melodramatic recital of clandestine and ardent romance between the dashing Mughal prince Salim, who went down the history lane as one of the most prominent Mughal emperors titled Jahangir, and the gorgeous woman named Mehrunnisa, who embarked upon an odyssey from a court-official's daughter to one of India's most powerful empresses, later known as Nurjahan; and their steady passion being entangled into a web of fate, manipulation, greed, and deceit; and their undying desires to reunite with each other, form the crux of this exotic story. This encyclopedia of intertwined facts and fiction gives readers a peep not only into the grandeur and opulence of the Mughal courts but also the spectacle of Indian culture, the richness of Mughal history and the conglomeration of politics and power.

This rollicking novel is a commanding read for historical-romance fiction aficionados!

My experience as a reader of The Twentieth Wife

A few years ago, while browsing through books in a book-store, the unusual title of this book caught my attention and I eagerly checked out its back-cover. To my excitement, I discovered that its plot is about Mughal romance in late-medieval India. I quickly purchased The Twentieth Wife and started reading it. For the next three days I was totally engrossed in this book. I relished every page of this book and read it five times! The way the author portrayed the characters, venues, emotions, events and consequences are so immaculate and realistic that it is like I am witnessing the real-life drama before me! The author has managed to lift up my imagination by executing this enchanting story in a strongly dramatic and film style. This book is not only entertaining but also taught me a great deal about how the Mughals ruled, their empire, their achievements, their traditions and customs; picturization of India in 16th-17th century; the Indian society's views and status of women in Mughal India. I am still fascinated with Mehrunnisa/Nur Jahan, the main protagonist of this story - she was a strong woman with a modern outlook and managed to break the barriers of rigid Mughal culture; and though her intentions were veiled, it became obvious that she achieved her goal of becoming an empress of India due to her consistent patience and sheer determination! The only one thing that turned me off is the Mughal political issues described in detail in this book - politics is not my cup of tea. But nevertheless, The Twentieth Wife tops the list of my most favourite novels. I recommended this book to my friends and relatives. On my recommendation, they either bought the book or borrowed this book from me and they enjoyed and cherished this priceless book as much as I did!

Indu Sundaresan - the author of the Twentieth Wife
Indu Sundaresan - the author of the Twentieth Wife | Source

About the author

Indu Sunderesan is a prolific Indian-American author whose literary work has been well received by both readers and literary critics alike. Apart from her brilliant debut novel, The Twentieth Wife, she also wrote The Feast of Roses, the much awaited and equally-well acclaimed sequel to the Twentieth Wife; The Splendour of Silence, In The Convent of Little Flowers and more recently, Shadow Princess to complete the Taj Mahal Trilogy (along with The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Rose).

To know more of this author and her work, visit her site:


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Awards and accolades

This debut novel earned several rave reviews from fans and literary critics alike. This novel was hailed by many prestigious publishing houses, renowned authors and the well-known press as one of the most captivating novels ever written by a debutante author. This book by Indu Sundersan won the Washington State award in 2003.

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Copyrights © 2011 By Ishwaryaa Dhandapani

Other books by Indu Sundaresan


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