“I wonder what it would be like to marry a prince,” Mehrunnisa said, her eyes glazing over dreamily, “and to be a princess…”
― Indu Sundaresan,
If there is one historical novel that I absolutely loved, then it’s got to be The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sunderasan. It’s a story of one of India’s most controversial queens, Nur Jahan. Often spotted in paintings and images as the lady behind the veil, seated behind the frames of an intricately carved palace window, Nur Jahan in reality was nothing short of a wonder woman. She radiated brilliance and determination, and it is said that her love for the young prince Jahangir, shaped the course of the Mughal Empire.
This is her story
Growing up amidst opulence in the gardens of Emperor Akbar’s lavish palace, it was but evitable that she bump into Prince Salim(Aka Jahangir). In a single glance, the young Mehrunnisa(aka Nur Jahan), falls in love with the prince. And what begins thereafter is a timeless fairy tale.
The Twentieth Wife is an emotional and sensuous tale of Salim and Mehrunnisa (aka Nur Jahan). It is a book that charts a journey of a powerful female from the pages of history- from an ill-fated first marriage, her tryst with motherhood, power struggles and political vendetta.
Through it all, Mehrunnisa’s character is one of fiery intensity, with a quest to get the man she truly loves- Salim. It is Mehrunissa, with her ability to defy convention, despite the veil, and an astonishing potency of love. She emerges victorious through it all in her life, to move out of the harem and become the queen who ruled the kingdom. From behind the veil she demonstrated extraordinary power and independence in every step she took.
It’s a journey of strength and endurance for Mehrunissa. The book may be based on historical facts, but Indu’s writing weaves words to create a subtle tale of women and her struggles in a predominantly patriarchic society.
This post is a part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge where I write about twenty six women characters from books, who have left an impact on me. You can read the previous posts here- Women in Books
The book is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format.