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The Feast of Roses

(Taj Mahal Trilogy #2)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  5,533 ratings  ·  440 reviews
The love story of Emperor Jahangir and Mehrunnisa, begun in the critically praised debut novel The Twentieth Wife, continues in Indu Sundaresan's The Feast of Roses. This lush new novel tells the story behind one of the great tributes to romantic love and one of the seven wonders of the world -- the Taj Mahal.

Mehrunnisa, better known as Empress Nur Jahan, comes into Jahang
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 18th 2004 by Washington Square Press (first published April 29th 2003)
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4.06  · 
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 ·  5,533 ratings  ·  440 reviews

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Ronak Gajjar
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, 2018
This one eclipsed my senses of somewhat retribution I held for the first part!
Brilliant chronicle about the - Reign of Mehrunnisa (Nur Jahan Begum) over the Zenana as Padshah Begum and on the emperor Jahangir himself.
And Jahangir exactly acting like – Love struck looney! (*His actions according to my perceptions were beyond justification.)
As for Mehrunnisa - bow down to you Queen of Manipulation. Her character map is so damn broaden and bewitching that I stayed under the spell until the “Last
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2012
If you read my review on prequel to this book, The Twentieth Wife, you'll know that I loved it. This book continues with the life of Mehrunnisa, eventual empress of the Mughal Dynasty and her rise from nothing to one of the most powerful rulers. It's beautifully written and glorious in its details. I would love to see a movie made from these books, just for the amazing palaces and clothing described in the books.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
UGGG this was horrid. Had to drag myself through it. The 1st book in the series - The 20th Wife was SO much better.
May 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
A book with a word ‘rose’ in the title is so mushy, romantic, M&B types - something that I would never read. But then I have found some great books and authors through recommendations from friends. Now I can confidently say that this author is here to stay on my list to read. The hard work and perseverance of author Indu Sundaresan shines through the book. It’s a very long story and based on historical records, fables, and some just word of mouth. But building a story piece by piece requires ...more
Tara Chevrestt
The Twentieth wife was better, in my opinion, but this novel, again about Empress Nur Jahan aka Nisa, was just as beautifully written with historical details, romance and courage. This novel follows Nisa's life after her marriage to the Emperor. The only thing I grew weary of was the stories, details and characters pertaining to the Portuguese and English trading, ships and treaties. That was dull. However, the court and zenana intrigue was abundant. I found Nisa's story incredibly sad despite t ...more
Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is like the mascarpone cheesecake of books: incredibly rich, satisfying in even the smallest bite, but absolutely addictive. The sheer amount of historical and setting research made the historian in me happy in the heart -- so much detail, I could've taken a bath in it. The author manages not to turn it into either a headlong rush from one significant event to the next, or a patronizing anthropological study of an exotic time and place.

The main characters are all real people in Mughal India
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I wondered if this would make it into the five star category by the end, along side my treasured reads, and the fact that ive just closed the last page and grieving a bit allready for Nur Jahan and my time spent engrossed in that historical era of Mughal India means it makes the grade. I read most of this book in Bali surrounded by lush gardens and foundtains and it was an ideal place to kick back and get immersed in the Zenana and its politcs. Being the second book, it was nice to allready have ...more
Swathi Kiranmayee Manchili
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian-fiction
Mehrunnisa, Empress Nur Jahan, comes in to Emperor Jahangir's harem as his twentieth wife. The story follows Nisa's life after her marriage to the Emperor. Mehrunnisa aka Nur Jahan comes across as a beautiful, intelligent ordinary woman who achieves power, fame and wealth in an otherwise male dominated Muslim dynasty. She becomes the only person whom Jahangir would trust with his life. She also becomes active in the area of diplomacy, day to day activities (Jharokha during which Jahangir interac ...more
Sahil Pradhan
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The mask is off- the charm is wrought-

And Selim to his heart has caught,

His Nourmahal, his Haram’s Light!

And well do vanish’d frowns enhance

The charm of every brighten’d glance,

And dearer seems each dawning smile

For having lost its light awhile,

And, happier now, for all her sighs,

As on his arm, her head reposes,

She whispers to him, with laughing eyes,

“Remember, love, the Feast of Roses.”

In 1526, when the nomadic Timurid warrior-scholar Babur rode into Hindustan, his wives, sisters, daughters, au
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The romance between Mehrunnisa and the Emperor Jahangir improves a great deal after Jahangir made Mehrunnisa one of his wives and welcomed her officially to the harem. Now Mehrunnisa wasn't just Jahangir's object of desire, now she was named Light of the World by her Emperor, she had to try remaining as the Emperor's favorite wife. She had also became an increasingly important player in the power game in the court of the Mughal Empire.

I like how the author described the relationship between Mehr
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 While this was a good engrossing sequel to 'the twentieth wife', there were some problems. This book picks up the story immediately after Jahangir-Noor Jahan's marriage. Unlike d earlier book, it mostly has only one thread of narration - Noor Jahan.
So, it gets repetitive at times with all that Saas-bahu type plotting and counter-plotting. Also, Noor Jahan is a grey manipulative character and it is not possible to feel for her cause; i ended up feeling more for Shah Jahan. After the delicat
Nusrah Javed
This was great historical fiction! Detailed and well written. Parts of it were slower than the others, specially in comparison to its first part. The way Sundaresan weaves her meticulous research into fiction is a pleasure to behold, and I would highly recommend.
Mar 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Never judge a book by its cover. That is the oft-repeated mantra, which can be applied not just to literature, but to many other subjects.

In this case, even though I really wanted to read the book, the cover just blew me away. To me, it's a perfect representation of what the story is about: power, opulence, beauty, sensuality, and, above all, a need to step beyond the confines of a well-defined, though rather ill-fitting, role.

The woman on the cover is showing herself but only partially - her fa
Marcy prager
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing

What a glorious historically accurate account of the Mughal Empire in India! The author, Indu Sundaresan, exquisitely paints pictures in words of the settings in Agra and other places in India. She includes metaphors that I felt compelled to underline so I would not forget the beauty of her language.

This story is mainly about Mehrunnisa, the wife of Emperor Jahangir, Akbar’s son and fourth Emperor of Mughal India. In the past, it was a firm Mughal belief that a woman’s place was in the harem, be
Dec 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Sundaresan picks up the story of Mehrunnisa, the remarkable heroine from her debut novel, Twenty Wives, as the so-called "Light of the World" consolidates her power as wife of Emperor Jahangir of the Mughal Empire in 17th-century India, only to see her dominion destroyed by her own aggressive tendencies. The early chapters find Mehrunnisa confronting two rivals, who happen to be old friends of her husband, and eliminating them in a brief series of power struggles. She also talks Jahangir into le ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The feast of roses portrays the life of Mehrunnisa (aka Nur Jahan) after she married Jahangir. The author has described how Mehrunnisa became the only person who Jahangir would trust with his life, his decisions and day to day work of the empire. She was the first woman to attend the Jharokha which was the primary means through which the Mughal emperor would interact with his subjects and was considered to have a sharp business acumen as well. She invested the proceeds from her jagirs in ships w ...more
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book even better than "The 20th Wife" (the first book about Mehrunissa and Jahangir.) THe author does an amazing job of blending fact and fiction. I liked this one better because this was really the love story; although Mehrunissa is powerful she is only so because Jahangir trusts her above all others and gives her opportunity to help him run the kingdom. I love the strong will of Mehrunissa and her determination to make a difference but her arrogance began to make her less likable ...more
Aug 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I loved The Feast of Roses--probably even more than The Twentienth Wife. Now that Mehrunnisa is the Empress, obviously there is more known about her and her reign. She and Janganhir really did have a special relationship. I won't spoil the "feast of the roses" for you--but it was quite a feat! I truly did hate a love-hate (hate-love?) relationship with the rulers. But learned so much about a part of history that I know nothing about. I was appalled at Khurram and what he did to become the next e ...more
Apr 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who love stories
I read this book at night and would find myself dreaming of royal courts and palaces, persian rugs, silks and muslin draperies, jewels, and lavishness of colour and light. The book is based on the historical life of Empress Nur Jahan of the Mughal Empire. She became a powerful empress in a time when women were veiled and unheard, not to be seen outside of their harem. It recounts her life after her marriage to Emperor Jahangir, until her death. The book is long and detailed, but never boring and ...more
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lovely read!! I would recommend it to one and all, especially women and Indians!! This book made me visit Agra and see the fort and itimad ud daula's tomb!! :-))
very well written, very enjoyable!! :-))
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Delicious escape from stress of everyday life
Sanjana Ghosh
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In continuation to The Twentieth Wife , The Feast of Roses paints a picture of romantic love and power, and introduces the world of the origins of the famed Taj Mahal

Mehrunissa, now titled Nur Jahan, is the twentieth and the last wife of Emperor Jahangir. This Padshah Begum challenges most of the rules revolving arond women. She is the first Empress to have a voice at the Jharoka, which was previously only held by the Emperors. Although never seen at court, her voice and opinions ha a stro
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book is a sequel to The Twentieth Wife. The sequel detailed the life of Mehrunissa and her journey from being a girl next door to becoming an Empress Noor Jahan meaning Light of the World. The sequel Feast of Roses details her account of being an Empress, becoming power greedy, her power, betrayal by own sibling, and the end of an era.

My Take:

I had loved the first book and so sequel definitely had to be read. Like the first book, the chapters are long. It’s a medium paced read and d
Aayush Raj
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
"She had simply never turned to a woman for support, always the men. Bapa, Abul, Khurram, Hoshiyar, and, of course, she had had Emperor Jahangir’s benevolence, without which none of the others would have meant anything. Perhaps that was where she had strayed, Mehrunnisa thought, in not consolidating her power among the women, in the women’s world in which she lived."

The story continues in its most vivid expression, in the manner in which it had begun only to bring more contentment to the reader.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second novel in the Taj trilogy tells the story of Empress Nur Jahan - Mehrunnisa in her humbler past - after her wedding to Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Based on available historical documents, and also on stories and myths passed on from the Mughal era mixed with the author's imagination, this one is a fine blend of history and fiction. The author has beautifully captured Jahangir's almost fatal surrender to the love - and whatever else - of the shrewd Mehrunnisa, to the exclusion of everyone ...more
Apr 03, 2017 rated it liked it
still beautifully written, still historically amazing. I think I just liked the character less at this point in her life. :)
Pulkit Garg
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading The Twentieth Wife, I was completely enthralled by Sundaresan's writing style and her vivid descriptions of life in the Mughal Empire, and so had borrowed this book from my sister (thanks again Didi;)).

OMG!!! How could someone write such a book?! It's mortally impossible, and that's why we have authors like Sundaresan to remind us that the world is an extraordinary place. The book picks off from where its prequel left, and although I've heard many say that the book is boring cause
Anupama Ma
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
And the soap continues...
Actually, this book ran in my head as a Rajnikanth movie. Rajni is Prince Khurram and Mehrunissa is the classic arrogant female antagonist who stands up against him. And in the end, Khurram wins the story and mouths a punch dialogue 'Adhigama aasai padra pombalai nalla irundhadha sarithram illai' and rides away into the sunset with Arjumand on his white horse. But Mehrunissa has the last laugh anyway. Read the book to know why.

The romantic Mehrunissa from The Twentieth W
Linda Johnson
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A very good sequel to The Twentieth Wife. The first book, The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan, is a must read prior to The Feast of Roses, although, both books could easily stand alone. Both are very detailed and in depth looks at life in ancient India. This book is every bit as breathtaking as the Twentieth Wife. The author, Indu Sundaresan, educates readers about ancient India all the while entertaining with page-turning happenings. The riches, power struggles, family fueds (with dire conseq ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, fantasia, asia
A solid 3.5 stars. Finally picked up the sequel for the The Twentieth Wife and i was not disappointed! Although I am certainly not the target audience as I usually loathe love stories, I kind of made an exception here. This one ends the story for mehrunnisa in a thrilling story, surprisingly accurate historically.
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Indu Sundaresan was born in India and grew up on Air Force bases all over the country. Her father, a fighter pilot, was also a storyteller—managing to keep his audiences captive and rapt with his flair for drama and timing. He got this from his father, Indu's grandfather, whose visits were always eagerly awaited. Indu's love of stories comes from both of them, from hearing their stories based on i ...more

Other books in the series

Taj Mahal Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Twentieth Wife (Taj Mahal Trilogy, #1)
  • Shadow Princess (Taj Mahal Trilogy, #3)
“But Mehrunnisa did not know then, would never know, by giving her blessings to this marriage she had set into progress a chain of events that would eventually erase her name from history's pages. Or that Arjumand would become the only Mughal woman posterity would easily recognize. Docile, seemingly tractable and troublesome Arjumand would eclipse even Mehrunnisa, cast her in a shadow...because of the monument Khurram would build in Arjumand's memory - the Taj Mahal.” 13 likes
“The months of June and July passed. The monsoons were tardy this year—the nights hinted rain constantly with an aroma in the air, a cooling on the skin, soundless lightning across skies. But when morning came, the sun rose strong again, mocking Agra and its inhabitants. And the days crawled by, brazenly hot, when every breath was an effort, every movement a struggle, every night sweat-stewed. In temples, incantations were offered, the muezzins called the faithful to prayers, their voices melodious and pleading, and the bells of the Jesuit churches chimed. But the gods seemed indifferent. The rice paddies lay ploughed after the pre-monsoon rains, awaiting the seedlings; too long a wait and the ground would grow hard again. A few people moved torpidly in the streets of Agra; only the direst of emergencies had called them from their cool, stone-flagged homes. Even the normally frantic pariah dogs lay panting on doorsteps, too exhausted to yelp when passing urchins pelted them with stones. The bazaars were barren too, shopfronts pulled down, shopkeepers too tired to haggle with buyers. Custom could wait for cooler times. The whole city seemed to have slowed to a halt. The imperial palaces and courtyards were hushed in the night, the corridors empty of footsteps. Slaves and eunuchs plied iridescent peacock feather fans, wiping their perspiring faces with one hand. The ladies of the harem slept under the intermittent breeze of the fans, goblets of cold sherbets flavoured with khus and ginger resting by their sides. Every now and then, a slave would refresh the goblet, bringing in another one filled with new shards of ice. When her mistress awoke, and wake she would many times during the night, her drink would be ready. The ice, carved in huge chunks from the Himalayan mountains, covered with gunnysacks and brought down to the plains in bullock carts, was a blessing for everyone, nobles and commoners alike. But in this heat, ice melted all too soon, disappearing into a puddle of warm water under sawdust and jute. In Emperor Jahangir’s apartments, music floated through the courtyard, stopping and tripping in the still night air as the musicians’ slick fingers slipped on the strings of the sitar.” 0 likes
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