SBR: The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan is a well-written book, but it falters as historical fiction. I’m pretty sure that the court language by the time of Akbar and Jehangir was Persian and not Turkish, hot chai was not partaken in India at that time, and Mehrunnisa wouldn’t have been affectionately addressed as ‘beta’ by her parents. Salim’s character development doesn’t make sense and romantic situations between Salim and Mehrunnisa are created forcibly by arbitrarily playing with the norm of purdah. Although sufficient research seems to have gone into the life events of the characters, the settings and details are anachronistic.
To read or not to read: No need to go out of your way to get the book. It can be an entertaining read, but is not a must read.