My rating: 5 of 5 stars
'Arjumand did not know that Khurram would build the Taj Mahal in her memory. Or that the Taj would come to symbolize this land her grandfather had adopted as his own. Or that as much as she had envied that feast of roses Emperor Jahangir had laid out for her aunt, posterity would remember her, Empress for four short years, two, three, even five hundred years from now.'
The above lines say so much about 'The Feast of Roses' that couldn't have been described better. It is the tale of the twentieth wife of Jehangir, the Moghul king of India. It traces her journey from her wedding, her turmoils, her various strengths to her minor faults that were only humane and unavoidable under the circumstances she was in.
The Feast of Roses is the second installment of the Taj Mahal Trilogy, second to The Twentieth Wife and followed by The Shadow Princess.
This was after long that I read a masterpiece by a gifted storyteller. She has bound together all the silk threads of the Moghuls- right from the tales of the zenana ladies, the eunuchs who served the royal ladies, their royalty, the luxuries that were but obvious for them to the undefined misery that they were under.
This is a poignant tale of Nur-ud-din Mohammad Salim, his beloved Nur Jahan and their journey as one. Even though it is a story of the 1600s, it is a mirror into the kind of life we lead today. It is unfair to say that jealousy,distrust,cheating etc are perils of the present society we live in. Only as we turns pages of the book do we realize that these are not new. In fact, at a point of time, I was happy that I am a part of this world and kingdoms do not exist in the world I belong to.
The author has explored history and even modified it according to the taste of the reader with a rare kind of writing. she has backed the story with facts which makes it look even more real and interesting. The amazing eye for detail in the narrative is sure to leave the story in the mind of the reader, untouched by the moments of the dragging hours and the lessons flowing unbridled, time and again into the reader's mind, its magic lasting for a long time.
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