My considerate son borrowed a book from the library the other day, simply because he thought I might like it…’The Sultan’s Wife’ by Jane Johnson.
My first thought was….’I’ve just ordered 4 books online and bought two more in a shop down the road..how will I read this book as well???
I opened it up and couldn’t put it down.
I knew nothing about Moroccan history, except that the language spoken there was/ is Arabic.
The story is set in the year 1677 and narrated firstly by Nus Nus [pronounced Noos-Noos] an African eunuch slave. He works closely by the side of one of Morocco’s cruelest Sultan’s in history; Moulay Ismail.
The second narrator is Alys Swann, an English woman captured at sea by pirates and given to the sultan as a gift, against her wishes.
The story is one of survival as Nus Nus and Alys form a bond and friendship that helps each endure their difficult life under the roof of the Sultan, amid intrigue, slavery, racism, prejudice and love.
A brief time spent in visiting the English court of Charles II gives a distinct comparison between the two royal houses, as seen through the intelligent and perceptive eyes of Nus Nus.
Jane Johnson’s writing is fluent and flowing. Her descriptions are alive with emotion and honesty. You feel, see, hear and taste the things she describes so vividly.Even the descriptions of drastic violence are told honestly and clearly, making you read on, even while you wince at the depiction of cruelty. Yet it’s completely an honest portrayal of life at the time, in that place.
The plot is hard to predict and I have to say the outcome was not what I thought it would be..it was better. This novel is one of those that would make a relevant addition to any personal library and I am eager to read more of Jane Johnson’s writing simply because she is a great story teller and this makes ‘The Sultan’s Wife’ both thoroughly enjoyable and unforgettable