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The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan
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Jan 28, 2010

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from the Powell's Daily Dose:

The Twentieth Wife

by Indu Sundaresan

Esme's Comments:
"[B:]eautifully told, weaving together the rich history of India and the Mughal empire along with the love story of Mehrunnisa and Salim. While Mehrunnisa is the Prince's twentieth wife she quickly rises above his other wives to become his favorite. Their love story comes to life.... [T:]his book is written so well that readers can see the colors of the women's sari's, smell the scents of the streets and hear the chaos of the courtyard."

Publisher Comments
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.

"More than just a love story, this novel offers a kaleidoscope of India's history and culture....Through the intelligent and perceptive Mehrunnisa, Sundaresan conducts a symphony of textures." Elsa Gaztambide, Booklist

"Good old-fashioned historical fiction....Full of jeweled beauties and crumbling ruins, [The Twentieth Wife:] satisfies every craving for the pomp and mystery of India's past." Chicago Tribune

"First-time novelist Sundaresan writes in the great tradition of the Indian epic, an art she carries forward with grace and brilliance....This is a remarkably readable book despite the historical basis, with which many readers will not be familiar." Michelle Reale, Library Journal

"Rich and realistic....A delicious story." The Seattle Times

"Despite its descriptive strengths, however, the work doesn't quite convince as creative fiction. So much plot is squeezed into the novel that there's little time for character development Mehrunnisa and Jahangir are wooden and one-dimensional creations, and matters aren't helped by the often stilted prose. Regardless of the wealth of edifying historical detail, this tale of palace intrigue is less than intriguing." Publishers Weekly

"[A:] fascinating novel about a fascinating time...characters that...move with grace and panache across the brilliant stage she has reconstructed." Chitra Divakaruni, author of The Mistress of Spices and The Unknown Errors of Our Lives

About the Author
Indu Sundaresan, born and raised in India, came to the United States for graduate school. The Twentieth Wife is her first novel. She continues Mehrunnisa's tale in The Feast of Roses, forthcoming from Atria Books. She lives in Bellevue, Washington.

Based on the life of an actual empress of the Mughal empire, the woman for whom the Taj Mahal was built, The Twentieth Wife blends historical reality with the rich imaginings of a fairy tale, providing a fascinating portrait of one woman's defiant life behind the veil.
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message 1: by Readers (new)

Readers Cosmos Get a chance to interact with the author of The Taj Trilogy - Indu Sundaresan. Her recent book The Mountain of Light has been released worldwide now. You can talk to her about her book, writing in general, her journey as a whole etc.

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