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The Twentieth Wife Audiobook

The Twentieth Wife

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Publisher's Summary

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 listeners 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.

©2002 Indu Sundaresan; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"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." (Library Journal)
"Sundaresan's debut is a sweeping, carefully researched tale of desire, sexual mores, and political treachery set against the backdrop of 16th- and 17th-century India....[She] charts the chronology of the Mughal Empire, describing life in the royal court in convincing detail and employing authentic period terms throughout." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (701 )
5 star
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4.2 (369 )
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4.6 (372 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Lauren sarasota, FL, USA 03-24-09
    Lauren sarasota, FL, USA 03-24-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining listen"

    I bought the second book in this series; The feast of roses and loved it so I decided to try the first book as a audio book. I was not disappointed! I listen to this book while doing routine chores at work and the time flew by. I would recommend this audio book to anyone who likes historical fiction or historial romance.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Palm Coast, FL, USA 05-03-08
    Edward Palm Coast, FL, USA 05-03-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant"

    Beautifully written and narrated. Can't wait for her next novel. Vivid descriptions. Characters developed nicely. A love story for the ages.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    debra 11-18-16
    debra 11-18-16 Member Since 2017
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    "captivating"

    A good story teller pens this historical fiction. From the first page to the final chapter, the reader is transported to the fascinating imperial courts of Mughal India

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mysticalsister San Francisco, CA, United States 09-18-10
    Mysticalsister San Francisco, CA, United States 09-18-10 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautifully lyrical - a true delight!"

    I loved this book, and the Feast of Roses, as well. It brought the Mogul Empire to life and kept me rapt for hours. The reader was splendid.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane 10-03-09
    Diane 10-03-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nice Surprise"

    I really enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It was very long but that didn't really bother me - it was interesting and kept up the pace and the narrator did an excellent job - good story and characters - worth listening to.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Olivia 10-13-16
    Olivia 10-13-16 Member Since 2016

    Avid reader, audible always me to listen as I do other things. Fan of satirical comedy, historical fiction, and children's fantasy.

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    "Narration superb, story okay. "

    The narrator's voice is so soothing, hopefully I can find more works by her. Though the author is very good at describing the surroundings, the story was dull. The ending is especially unsatisfying with the length of this book. I was also especially disappointed because the summary painted this book as highly exciting, it was not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rita Greenbelt, MD, United States 08-09-16
    Rita Greenbelt, MD, United States 08-09-16 Member Since 2016
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    36
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    "Romance for the Ages"

    I have read this book at least three times and having the audio book is a guilty pleasure. This story is a roller coaster of emotion that feels genuine and not forced. The pace of the book is great and the performer does a lovely job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    anon 12-18-15
    anon 12-18-15 Member Since 2015
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    "I learned a lot!"
    If you could sum up The Twentieth Wife in three words, what would they be?

    intriguing, descriptive, engaging


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mehr-un-Nisaa was my favorite character because she was willing to fulfill her duty and live the life she was expected to not necessarily the life she wanted.


    Which character – as performed by Sneha Mathan – was your favorite?

    The tiger. I loved the growling!


    If you could take any character from The Twentieth Wife out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Prince Salim = Emperor Jhungeer. I would like to get to know him for myself and not only through the eyes of others who saw him for his power and wealth.


    Any additional comments?

    Took a little while to get into the story but soon after I became captivated. So sad the book had to end. Can't wait to read the sequel. Now when I go back to India I will have a much better appreciation of the history and the monuments I am seeing. Great historical fiction!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ubookquitous 05-25-15 Listener Since 2002

    Sheryl@Ubookquitous

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    "Interesting Historical Fiction"
    Any additional comments?

    Fascinating story based in the history of India's Mughal Empire. The story is about Mehrunnisa, daughter of a poor Persian who comes to the empire to make his fortune. She meets the son of Emperor Akbar (third of the Mughal) prince Salim when eight, and falls in love with him on his wedding day, and decides that someday, she will become his wife. Through brief encounters, Salim becomes fascinated with her, much to the disapproval of his powerful third wife, Jagat Gosain. The novel then follows Mehrunnisa's marriage to another Persian —a decorated soldier in Akbar's army, the rebellions of Salim against Akbar (where her husband betrays Salim), the reconciliation between father and son, and Salim's rise to power as Emperor Jahangir. Like his father, Salim's eldest son rebels, with the help of Mehrunnisa's husband. We also see how Jagat Gosain works to prevent Mehrunnisa and Salim from being together. Ultimately, however, it is the story of how, throughout the years, she held a power over him that no other in his harem of 19 wives and hundreds of concubines held over him.

    Sundaresan creates a wonderful, vivid picture of the world of late 16th to early 17th Century India. The vastness of the Mughal Empire, the climate and customs of the period, the variety of it's people, and the complexity of the politics of the time are woven together to create an engaging story. There was a nice balance between providing the details and terms while not reading like a textbook explaining every term and custom. All of the main characters were distinct, and fully realized — each with their own voice and behaviors, letting me sink into the story despite my unfamiliarity with the setting - historical and cultural.

    I look forward to reading the two following books by Sundaresan - the next dealing with Mehrunnisa's rise to be the premier wife, and the power behind the thrown. I always enjoy reading about the unconventional women of history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Serena Chapel Hill, NC 12-14-14
    Serena Chapel Hill, NC 12-14-14 Member Since 2017

    Serena

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved this series! Great story about India"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Twentieth Wife to be better than the print version?

    The narrator is great! She does a wonderful job of all the names and accents. You feel like you are right there.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Well crafted love story in a rich historical drama.


    Have you listened to any of Sneha Mathan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I've listened to as many as I can find. She always does a great job!


    Any additional comments?

    Read the whole series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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