In her critically praised debut novel, The 20th Wife, Indu Sundaresan introduced the love story of Emperor Jahangir and Mehrunnisa. The story continues in this lush sequel, when Mehrunnisa comes into Jahangir's harem as his 20th and final wife. This time, Jahangir has married for love, and members of his court are worried that Mehrunnisa could exert control over their futures. Their concerns are well founded. 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.
"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)
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Gold Medal Finalist
Perhaps too sympathetic, but a great love story
- Jersey Girl