The Feast of Roses
by Indu Sundaresan
Category: Fiction / Historical
0 pages; ISBN: 0743456408
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
In the seventeenth century, most of India, that is those who would care about the emperor’s harem, would expect that Jahangir’s twentieth wife of twenty wives would be lower than an Untouchable. However, the Empress Nur Jahan, previously called Mehrunnisa, does not settle in her role as she breaks the tradition of royal life and the accepted behavior of females in the country. Mehrunnisa can get away with a lot more than say Jahangir’s nineteen previous spouses, as she is the first woman he actually loves. The Emperor actually cedes her much power to run the country though her harem rivals led by scheming Empress Jagat plan to run her off and the court ministers refuse to have some upstart female steal any of their power.
Showing inner strength Mehrunnisa refuses to allow either of these two influential groups to stop her rise. She turns to her father, her brother, and the son of her husband for support. Though the fight is difficult and she and her daughter becomes estranged, through the love of Jahangir she never gives up.
The sequel to the delightful THE TWENTIETH WIFE, THE FEAST OF ROSES is an insightful look at the royal court of seventeenth century India. Though at times a bit slow, the story line is loaded with historical tidbits leading readers to conclude that Indu Sundaresan magically sent her audience back in time. Mehrunnisa is a strong lead protagonist, who quickly understands the balance of power and how to manipulate in a Machiavellian manner. The support cast provides insight into this protagonist. Ms. Sundaresan provides another Taj Mahal historical fiction.
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