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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2003 Indu Sundaresan (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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)

Featured Article: The Best Indian Authors to Listen to Right Now


"India," to quote actress and human rights activist Shabana Azmi, "is a country that lives in several centuries simultaneously." Just as those different time periods seem to coexist in one place, so do the voices of brilliant literary talents. Each of these writers and their works have contributed to help the world better understand this expansive country and its beautiful, multifaceted culture, whether it be from within India’s own borders or through the memory of its customs and traditions from distant continents.

What listeners say about The Feast of Roses

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Gold Medal Finalist

Another magnificent masterpiece created by Indu Sundaresan with outstanding narration that I loved from beginning to end. The writer's creative technique and the narrator's superb presentation brings ancient India to the 21st century for both history buffs and those not so historically inclined. Every character and event is vividly depicted with grand literary performance and dialogue. The Twentieth Wife is a must read in order to grasp the potency and familiarity with all the amazing characters, and unlike most novel sequels, The Feast of the Roses will not disappoint! Sundaresan certainly raised the bar with these outstanding works of sheer enjoyment so its going to be pretty hard for me to find another author that comes close to measuring up!

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Perhaps too sympathetic, but a great love story

I listened to and loved The Twentieth Wife and bought this title with my very next credit. It is the sequel which takes the story of Empress Nur Jahan from her marriage to Jahangir to the time of his death. Sundaresan is very sympathetic towards both, tempering Nur Jahan's ambition, and emphasizing her romantic love for her husband. While the passion shared between the two was legendary, I have learned that most historical accounts emphasize her tendency to be manipulative and harsh and suggest that she took advantage of her husband's addictions to drugs and alcohol. Here she seems to be valiantly struggling to be her own person in a man's world. I personally liked this softer interpretation. It is a great love story, but I question the historical accuracy of its anachronistic feminist overtones.

The narrator is very good. There are perhaps a few too many descriptions of the oppressive heat, street life, and meals. Overall, however, the author provides a fascinating account of Indian politics and history of the seventeenth century and the strategies used to deal with increasingly intrusive Portuguese and British merchants and missionaries. Nur Jahan, by the way, was the aunt of the woman for whom the Taj Majal was built.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Lots of Historical Detail & not enough story

I listened to the first book and this is the sequel to it. I enjoyed the first one, The 20th wife, more. It had more "story" to it. Truly, with this one, I felt as if the author was just repeating history she had researched from the very extensive journals of India's moguls. It just spouted off facts about battles for power until finally, I couldn't finish it. I really wanted to as I felt committed to the two books but I couldn't take the boredom any longer. Kept hoping it would pick up but it didn't. I will say, though, that is this narrator is SUPERB.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A suprise like!

I very much enjoy historical fiction, but being a guy I'm not an into the romatic variety! This story along with the first book (The Twentieth Wife) does what good story's do ... they put you into that time and place. I also liked the fact that this strong female character earned her position - in a male dominated world that could not understand how love can make us a stronger, better person, not weaker.
Also, Mughal India with its wealth, intelligence, and corruption will fascinate you. These two books are both beautiful and fascinating and well worth the listen. I originally got these books for my wife to listen too, but I think I enjoyed them as much, if not more than she did!
The Narrator Sneha Mathan does a wonderful job.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful Writing, Plot AND Presentation

I can't say enough about this reader; I wish she had more performances. She is perfect for this book (and the other in the series), which is beautifully written.

A joy to listen to!

5 people found this helpful

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Completing the Story of Nur Jahan

I suggest listening to "The Twentieth Wife" first, as this picks up where the previous book ends. Nur Jahan, historically, has been overshadowed by her niece, Mumtaz Mahal, but was actually much more interesting as a person. Snetha Mathan is a very good reader, but the production needs considerable improvement, as the editing is very sloppy, with many repeated sentences. Nevertheless, I recommend this for anyone who enjoys a good historical novel.

4 people found this helpful

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Most beautiful narrator voice I have ever heard

Truly an amazing sweeping epic novel, most beautifully written and splendidly visual. The narrator's voice is the most eloquent elegant perfect English I've ever heard.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascination history of Mughal India

This author has a great skill writing battle scenes and creating lush images of Mughal India. Her novels start slowly, but they always gather speed and intensity. Only the epilogue seemed a bit flat. The narration is beautiful. I enjoyed every minute.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book

Loved this book. the opulence and beauty of this historical novel was breathtaking and the narrator was delightful.

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Amazing imagery throughout, beautifully performed

I loved listening to the narrator's beautiful smooth silky voice, it really added to the story and provided a great canvas for the imagery.

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  • Love audio
  • 10-11-10

The Feast of Roses

Loved this book and would like more from Indu Sundaresan!

1 person found this helpful

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  • jubilee nicodemus
  • 05-23-22

Beautifully written and super beautifully narrated

Absolutely fantastic script.. and the narrator is brilliant... Beautifully voice, intonation, tone, pace and pronunciation. I wish more books on Indian stories used narrators with suitable accents to pronounce the words. Hate listening to Anglo accents struggling to pronounce Hindi/ Urdu words.