In Indu Sundaresan’s lush historical romance, The Twentieth Wife, we read of Mumtaz Mahal’s aunt, Mehrunnisa, a woman known to Indian history as Nur. Indu Sundaresan is an Indian-American author of historical fiction. Contents. 1 Career; 2 Personal; 3 Awards; 4 Works; 5 References; 6 External links. Career[ edit]. Her first novel The Twentieth Wife is about how a young widow named. Written by Indu Sundaresan Unfortunately, The Twentieth Wife is less than enthralling, for although its subjects are fascinating people, its setting is exotic, and.

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She is a schemer, scheming for someone she doesn’t know and something she considers her divine right. The story is based on real people and events, and is enhanced by Sundaresan’s romantic imagination. Mehrunnisa is a newborn and, along with her disgraced and impoverished family, she becomes attached to the court of Emperor Akbar of the Mughal empire.

Narrations did drag at times because almost the whole book is someone plotting against someone to attain power, wealth and glory! The less they know, the less they will want of the outside world. If you do read this book and enjoy it there is also a follow-up book: A stunning beauty who wants to usurp the top dog position from another wife and to be the wife of a substance-abusing prince — the typical bad guy who changes because of the love of a good woman — whom she has only met three times?

She came into the world in the yearto the howling accompaniment of a ferocious winter storm. That should tell you something.

The Twentieth Wife

Took me awhile to get into this book but now ready wifs the 2nd in the trilogy. Click here to learn more about this month’s sponsor!

Taj Sundatesan Trilogy 3 books. The inside harem politics was even more poisonous because it was driven by jealousy of women. This book talks about “Mehrunissa” or “Nur Jahan”, the most important woman of the Mugal empire. She is gifted with a cunning and slyness that she uses to make herself visible to Jahangir at opportune times. Sunsaresan deserve four stars for doing this, but I award the book only two. I finished reading this book quite some time ago back in and it left quite a deep impact on me and the way I see things.


To know the historical characters we do have to rely upon the history books or documents preserved in the libraries. Often the narrator uses exactly the same tone for men and women. However, that had not stopped Twentietth from cultivating the acquaintance of the most learned and cultured poets, authors, musicians, and architects of the time – relying solely on his remarkable memory during conversations with them.

Detailed Review Summary of The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan

View all 4 comments. Her power and influence were unprecedented in the Moghul empire, where women remained veiled behind the harem walls.

When Mehrunnisa becomes the 20th and last ssundaresan of Jahangir, she is 34, hardly young for the year Maybe I will read it non fiction on her next Tdentieth was the mother of Jahangir. This kind of character needs to have the reader on her side. However, I’m half-way through the book and it seems to me that the author has marginalized her just as much as the culture she lives in does.

The Twentieth Wife

It isn’t until Mehrunnisa has weathered a disastrous, loveless marriage to the brutal soldier Ali Quli, several miscarriages and the jealous plotting sundresan Jahangir’s chief wife, Jagat Gosini, that ind gets the chance to defy the male-dominated Mughal culture and become a savvy, powerful empress.

Though largely fictional, the story bases itself on actual events that tie up the plot really well, and the author does a great job of making it an interesting and compelling read. I loved the way the story ended by denoting the power of women ascending in the Empire especially in that time where women were restricted under veil and the great style in which women gained power gradually afterwards.


This story is about the twentieth and the most beloved wife of Jahangir. Tsentieth from ” https: Dec 20, Kate rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Salim reached out and pulled her veil from her head.

She was a strong, self-confident, charismatic and well-educated woman Had she had been ugly, all these qualities wouldn’t have mattered! Jahangir even declares himself the emperor from another city. So much plot is jndu into the novel that there’s little time for character development—Mehrunnisa and Jahangir are wooden and one-dimensional creations, and matters aren’t ibdu by the often stilted prose “restlessness rose over her like tide on a beach”.

She came into the world in the yearto the howling accompaniment o An enchanting seventeenth-century epic of grand passion and adventure, this debut novel tells the captivating story of one of India’s most legendary and controversial empresses — a woman whose brilliance and determination trumped myriad obstacles, and whose love shaped the course of the Mughal empire.

Although the romance of Mehrunissa and Emperor Jahangir is always an integral part to this story there is so much, much more to keep one pinned to the pages twentiethh this book.