By Indu Sundaresan
A fascinating old epic of grand ardour and experience, this debut novel tells the pleasing tale of 1 of India's so much arguable empresses -- a lady whose brilliance and backbone trumped myriad stumbling blocks, and whose love formed the process the Mughal Empire. Skillfully mixing the textures of historic fact with the wealthy and sensual imaginings of a undying fairy story, The 20th Wife sweeps readers up in Mehrunnisa's embattled love with Prince Salim, and within the bedazzling future of a lady -- a legend in her personal time -- who used to be all yet misplaced to historical past previously.
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Extra resources for The Twentieth Wife: A Novel
At that second, it didn't strike her that she used to be really within the imperial palace. every thing, each suggestion, founded on Salim. while the gates had opened and the feminine guards had eyed them with suspicion sooner than permitting them to into the zenana sector, Saliha had bowed to them in awe. Mehrunnisa had missed them, her eyes working in every single place, now not seeing the rainbow silks or the luminous jewels or the perfectly painted faces. Her in simple terms notion were to discover a great place on the monitor to determine the prince. And now that they had been driven to the again simply because they have been more youthful and smaller than the entire different girls. “I am going to push them apart and have a look. ” “You can't do this. this is often the Emperor’s harem; they're the main exalted girls within the realm,” Saliha acknowledged in a horrified whisper, preserving Mehrunnisa’s hand tight in hers. “With very undesirable manners,” Mehrunnisa spoke back, her voice pert. “I were driven out of ways 4 instances already. How are we speculated to see Prince Salim? they don't seem to be made up of water that we will be able to see via them. ” She pulled her hand out of Saliha’s seize and ran to front of the balcony. She tapped one of many concubines at the shoulder and, while she became, slipped throughout the beginning to press her face opposed to the reveal, her palms clutching the marble. Mehrunnisa blinked quickly to regulate her eyes to the blinding sunshine within the Diwan-i-Am and gazed on the determine seated at the throne on the a long way finish. Akbar was once wearing his wonderful gowns of nation, the jewels on his turban glittering as he nodded graciously to his ministers. The Emperor’s eyes have been suspiciously vibrant whilst he checked out his son. Mehrunnisa shifted her gaze to Prince Salim and held her breath. From right here she might in basic terms see him in profile. He held himself with grace, shoulders squared, toes planted firmly aside, correct hand at the jeweled dagger tucked into his cummerbund. Princess guy Bai stood subsequent to him, head lined with a crimson muslin veil seriously embroidered in gold zari. If merely the princess may movement again a step so she might see Salim a bit higher, Mehrunnisa concept, her face glued to the display. might be if she leaned over to the ideal . . . The Qazi who used to be appearing the rite had simply comprehensive asking Prince Salim if he may take the Princess guy Bai to be his spouse. He now became to the princess. Mehrunnisa, besides the remainder of the court docket, waited in silence for guy Bai to reply. simply then, an individual rudely pulled her via the shoulder. She circled to work out the irate concubine obvious at her. “How dare you? ” the concubine hissed among clenched enamel, her face twisted in anger. Mehrunnisa opened her mouth to answer, yet earlier than she might, the woman lifted her hand and slapped Mehrunnisa’s face, her jeweled jewelry slicing into her cheek. Mehrunnisa raised a trembling hand to her face and stared at her, eyes large in a light face. No one—no one—had hit her ahead of, no longer even her mom and dad. Tears sprang to her eyes as she glowered on the girl, spilling down her cheeks prior to she may possibly cease them.