Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Sultan's Wife by Jane Johnson

3.5 Star

1677, Morocco. Behind the magnificent walls and towering arches of the Palace of Meknes, captive chieftain's son and now a lowly scribe, Nus Nus is framed for murder. As he attempts to evade punishment for the bloody crime, Nus Nus finds himself trapped in a vicious plot, caught between the three most powerful figures in the court: the cruel and arbitrary sultan, Moulay Ismail, one of the most tyrannical rulers in history; his monstrous wife Zidana, famed for her use of poison and black magic; and the conniving Grand Vizier.

Meanwhile, a young Englishwoman named Alys Swann has been taken prisoner by Barbary corsairs and brought to the court. She faces a simple choice: renounce her faith and join the Sultan's harem; or die. As they battle for survival, Alys and Nus Nus find themselves thrust into an unlikely alliance--an alliance that will become a deep and moving relationship in which these two outsiders will find sustenance and courage in the most perilous of circumstances.

Sabrina-Kate - 3.5 Star

I loved The Sultan's Wife in the very beginning but unfortunately it began to drag on early in. The descriptions in the beginning had me hooked though and I kept hoping that it would get back to that original pull, but it was not to be. Maybe I was just isn't in the mood for this type of book at that time, but I think that it just didn't live up to expectations.

The part that I found interesting was the descriptions of the country and it's history. Morocco is not a country that I know very much about so I found this rich historical insight to be compelling but I'd also like to know if the author researched that aspect or if it was something that she imagined. Although apparently many of the characters are based on real life people so there must have been research involved.

This book wasn't very long but because of the story line that involved a lot of suffering and danger, it seemed to be never ending and became tedious to read at times. Perhaps somewhat unbelievable because I couldn't easily imagine that the story would be possible.

I didn't love The Sultan's Wife but it had a lot about it that I enjoyed. I know that a lot of people did really love it so perhaps it's more for the historical fiction fan, which I realized that though I find the historical aspect interesting, it doesn't thrill me.

Thank you to DoubleDay Canada for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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