The Sultan’s Wife by Jane Johnson

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

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About loulouszal

Hi, I have always loved stories, from Dr Suess to Enid Blyton, to Roald Dahl, as a child and on to Jane Austen as a teen and adult. I love writing stories and poems too. I think writing and reading fantasy is a great way to travel, in your head and visit places you might never otherwise see. they can be as wonderful as you want to make them. I kept writing as a hobby all through my teen years and then as an adult, married with children ,I wrote stories for my family and read them out aloud as we traveled on long car trips in foreign countries. "The Diary of Arnmore" is one of these stories, followed closely by "Hungry Mr Croc." Two very different stories, aimed at completely different age groups, but both definately worth a read!
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