Despite the rivalry of the imperial harem, which has plotted against her from the beginning, Mehrunnisa soon becomes the most powerful woman in the Mughal Empire. She rules from behind the veil, securing her status by forming a junta of sorts with her father, brother, and stepson and by risking all, even her daughter, to get what she wants. But she never loses the love of the man who has bestowed this power upon her.
©2003 Indu Sundaresan; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Weaving another rich historical tapestry...Sundaresan colors the life of a fascinating woman whose female wiles inspired the Taj Mahal." (Booklist)
"The novel's scope and ambition are impressive, as are the numerous period details....Readers who enjoyed the first volume will find similar pleasures tracking the fate of one of history's most intriguing women." (Publishers Weekly)
"Sundaresan's love of storytelling is apparent in this well-researched historical romance. She makes sure that the reader stays enthralled from chapter to chapter and, with this sequel, will surely do the same in creating anticipation for her next book." (Library Journal)
Another magnificent masterpiece created by Indu Sundaresan with outstanding narration that I loved from beginning to end. The writer's creative technique and the narrator's superb presentation brings ancient India to the 21st century for both history buffs and those not so historically inclined. Every character and event is vividly depicted with grand literary performance and dialogue. The Twentieth Wife is a must read in order to grasp the potency and familiarity with all the amazing characters, and unlike most novel sequels, The Feast of the Roses will not disappoint! Sundaresan certainly raised the bar with these outstanding works of sheer enjoyment so its going to be pretty hard for me to find another author that comes close to measuring up!
I listened to and loved The Twentieth Wife and bought this title with my very next credit. It is the sequel which takes the story of Empress Nur Jahan from her marriage to Jahangir to the time of his death. Sundaresan is very sympathetic towards both, tempering Nur Jahan's ambition, and emphasizing her romantic love for her husband. While the passion shared between the two was legendary, I have learned that most historical accounts emphasize her tendency to be manipulative and harsh and suggest that she took advantage of her husband's addictions to drugs and alcohol. Here she seems to be valiantly struggling to be her own person in a man's world. I personally liked this softer interpretation. It is a great love story, but I question the historical accuracy of its anachronistic feminist overtones.
The narrator is very good. There are perhaps a few too many descriptions of the oppressive heat, street life, and meals. Overall, however, the author provides a fascinating account of Indian politics and history of the seventeenth century and the strategies used to deal with increasingly intrusive Portuguese and British merchants and missionaries. Nur Jahan, by the way, was the aunt of the woman for whom the Taj Majal was built.
I very much enjoy historical fiction, but being a guy I'm not an into the romatic variety! This story along with the first book (The Twentieth Wife) does what good story's do ... they put you into that time and place. I also liked the fact that this strong female character earned her position - in a male dominated world that could not understand how love can make us a stronger, better person, not weaker.
Also, Mughal India with its wealth, intelligence, and corruption will fascinate you. These two books are both beautiful and fascinating and well worth the listen. I originally got these books for my wife to listen too, but I think I enjoyed them as much, if not more than she did!
The Narrator Sneha Mathan does a wonderful job.
The narrator is great [I'd really like to hear her read an unabridged "A Suitable Boy"], but there is a major technical fault: at the beginning of each recording session, she repeats the last sentence of the previous section AND IT HASN'T BEEN EDITED OUT. It is quite annoying. Recorded Books should have been more careful. The narrator does the various Indian accents beautifully and pronounces the Indian words and names very well.
The book itself is a continuation of the story of Nur Jahan, the wife of Jahangir, the third Mogul emperor. The language is decorous--no steamy sex here, although Nur Jahan's hold on her husband was in part at least because of that--and occasionally sounds somewhat stilted. The author, however, manages to describe a way of life so foreign to the West with great ability and sympathy, and to make Nur Jahan very credible. Like "The Twentieth Wife", which precedes this book, a thoroughly enjoyable read. Although there are some sources, Indu Sundaresan has largely recreated the Moghul world through her imagination; these two books are somewhere between biography, history, and fiction.
I can't say enough about this reader; I wish she had more performances. She is perfect for this book (and the other in the series), which is beautifully written.
A joy to listen to!
I listened to the first book and this is the sequel to it. I enjoyed the first one, The 20th wife, more. It had more "story" to it. Truly, with this one, I felt as if the author was just repeating history she had researched from the very extensive journals of India's moguls. It just spouted off facts about battles for power until finally, I couldn't finish it. I really wanted to as I felt committed to the two books but I couldn't take the boredom any longer. Kept hoping it would pick up but it didn't. I will say, though, that is this narrator is SUPERB.
This author has a great skill writing battle scenes and creating lush images of Mughal India. Her novels start slowly, but they always gather speed and intensity. Only the epilogue seemed a bit flat. The narration is beautiful. I enjoyed every minute.
I absolutely would recommend this book and any books by this author and narrator! This was such an interesting and informative story! It gave me a glimpse into another culture and era that I had never thought of before. I enjoyed it so much I sought out other books by this author!
Not if it is a fictionalized story based on facts because it creats confusion about what is true and what is not. I listened to this book with great interest and enjoyed it very much as I felt that I was learning a lot about the historical figures of India about whom I read in my high school. It is my fault because I did not realize until the end that it was a fiction.
It was a big let down. Every day after I came home driving from work, I would tell my wife and the kids about what I learned about Nur Jahan, Sha Jahan, Jahangir and so on. So, I am now embarassed to admit to them most of what I told them may not be true. It actually made me very upset.
I rate it very high. A glimps into the world little known for 2 reasons - history of a far away land, and moreover a tale of a woman who lived hidden behind the walls, but still was a co-ruler of a vast empire. Great !
"The Feast of Roses"
Loved this book and would like more from Indu Sundaresan!
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