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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2006
I picked this book up in a library sale just because the title appealed - once I started it I found myself really looking forward to each time I was able to pick it up - despite the unfamiliar names and use of indian words this did not detract from my ability to engage with the story and characters - I would recommend this book for some escapism with a good romance thrown in (even though I would not normally read romantic novels)it takes you to another way of life entirely.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2004
This is a beautifull story about the indian empress Nu Juhan (17th century)covering the period before she married emperor Jahangir. Entertaining portrayal of her childhood, life in a harem and lifestyle in those days. Based on historical facts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2008
I read this novel after a friend recommendation.

It was a great reading, took me during that great period of Indian. The story love that went through politics, revenge, war, and women make you went to read in more details to know.

I like the author style, even though she went little fast in snap shot with some details that I wanted to know more.

Over all it was a interesting reading, and planning to the next book to continue the love story of Emperor Jahangir and his wife Mehrunnisa, called Nur Jahan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2008
I had high expectations for this book as it is a well known story in India, but by the end of it I felt a little dissatisfied by the writing style and the way Indu sunderasun hurrys through the story without really fleshing out the characters as much as she could have. It almost has the feel of being translated into English (it isn't). The actual story of prince Salim and meher-unissa is such a rich and vibrant one, that you wonder what a great historical fiction writer like Phillippa gregory( the other Boleyn girl) or Arthur Golden (memoirs of a geisha)could have done with the story.
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on 3 December 2012
The writing in this book is very evocative of India, and having just returned from there I was eager to read about it from an Indian perspective. I was not disappointed! This first novel of Sundaresan's tells of a much more primitive time in their history, - a time of violence, punishment and retribution, but in contrast she also writes with a sensual and exotic flair giving a picture of life for the concubines in the Mughal harem, pulling us in and interesting us in her characters. Alongside runs the story of the heroine who aspires from an early age to be the wife and empress to the Mughal emperor, and the ultimate unfolding of this long held desire. I am looking forward to the continuation of Mehrunnisa's tale in The Feast of Roses.
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on 23 June 2012
I was recommended this by a friend and couldn't put it down! It is very well written and the story is captivating. I am always on the lookout for a new Memoirs of a Geisha, and I think I've found it in The Twentieth Wife. I love historical fiction set in another culture, and having visited India, the setting of Mehrunnisa's story was fascinating. Cultural references and foreign words don't take away from the narrative and I particularly liked Sundaresan's use of historical quotes before each chapter. If you enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha and A Thousand Splendid Suns, you will love this too!
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on 28 January 2015
Beautifully written, with believable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and have ordered more from this author. Wonderfully descriptive. the strength of character and serenity the main character has. To go through an awful marriage to a person who was not a pleasant person to say the least, loosing babies and being ridiculed and belittled by everyone including her husband and still she remained strong. If you like reading about other lands then read this book.
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on 26 April 2008
I have reviewed this book fully on my blog. The twentieth wife makes you feel that extraordinary writing and talent is alive and well today. The book is such an entertaining read. It is Historical Fiction at its best and most accessible. Read it and believe!

Riya Agnihotri. Writer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2007
I bought this book in America about 5 years ago. Ineeded a book for my flight home and the cover caught my eye. As usual, I read through the first page and found I wanted to carry on reading so I bought it.......I've reread it so many times I've lost count. You're transported to the luxurious world of th Mughal empire so vividly that you can practically touch the velvet cushions and taste the food. Sundaresan has created a vision of such splendour intertwined with the story of one of histories most infamous women that the book is impossible to put down once you begin. This is the better of the pair (sequel is 'Feast of Roses') but the entire story leaves you wanting to know more - about the woman, the family and the time. Fabulous!
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on 10 December 2011
The title of this book was what first attracted me to it. The romance; meant I couldn't put it down. Like any great book it leaves you wanting more. Unlike most books, there is more. I can't wait to read the sequel.
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