I have to say that I loved Indu Sundaresan’s novel The Twentieth Wife. It is a wonderful work of historic fiction that takes place during the 17th century in India. Mehrunnisa falls in love with the Crown Prince of the Mughal Empire at a very young age, but due to social standing she is unable to marry him until he too falls in love with her. Unfortunately, this takes over thirty years. During that time, Mehrunnisa is married to a cruel military leader and must endure years of hardship.
Historically, Mehrunnisa becomes a powerful empress, which Sundaresan captures in her second novel Feasts of Roses. Personally, I found her second novel even more captivating than her first. I loved the scheming and plotting that Mehrunnisa must do in order to stay in power. Not to mention the vivid descriptions of the harem and her royal life. I was never very interested in India until I started reading Sundaresan’s novels, now I find myself drawn to reading more about this incredible country. If you are looking for a good historical fiction read, consider starting the Taj Mahal trilogy. (Sundaresan’s third novel, Shadow Princess, just came out in March and I can’t wait to read it.