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Beneath a Marble Sky

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,300 Ratings  ·  1,617 Reviews
Journey to dazzling seventeenth-century Hindustan, where the reigning emperor, consumed with grief over the tragic death of his beloved wife, commissioned the building of a grand mausoleum as a testament to the marvel of their love. This monument would soon become known as the Taj Mahal—a sight famous around the world for its beauty and the emotions it symbolizes.

Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 6th 2006 by NAL Trade (first published June 18th 2004)
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Kimberly I can't remember if Roshanara is mentioned by name, but her sisters are definitely present, and it is so worth the read. You won't regret it,…moreI can't remember if Roshanara is mentioned by name, but her sisters are definitely present, and it is so worth the read. You won't regret it, especially if it gives you some insight into the roles of women and family in those times! It's really well done!(less)
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Best for Book Clubs
107th out of 3,958 books — 9,898 voters
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
153rd out of 5,604 books — 21,675 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 08, 2010 Zeek rated it really liked it
I picked up Beneath A Marble Sky because of the cover. I'm so glad I did. BAMS is a near perfect story. Love, hate, betrayal, intrigue, duty, honor, played out against the magnificent backdrop of Agra, India, the city of the Taj Mahal, - I fell in love with this story from page one.

Told in first person from Jahanara's point of view, I must confess to being pleasantly surprised that a male author could write a female character so well.

Perhaps that's a bit strong. What I mean is that Shors does an
Jan 27, 2008 Kristin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: just-finished
This is a love story based in 17th century Hindustan - but not just your average love story. Finally, a love-story author that portrays a woman in a positive light! Not just hopelessly in love but also intelligent, loyal to her family (and her father's empire), truly selfless and very realistic with all of her emotional ups and downs.

This drama has the main character battling brothers and a disastrous arranged marriage, all the while fulfilling the needs of her father and trying to maintain a r
Aug 28, 2008 Darshana rated it it was ok
i do not recommend this book, as it could give the reader an inaccurate picture of what life was like back then. in addition the author has taken a number of liberties with the historical characters. the writing is very simplistic and leaves you feeling like you are reading a teenage romance novel.
Sara Register
Oct 21, 2007 Sara Register rated it liked it
I found this book pretty fascinating as well as disturbing...and not in a good way. I have noticed that since having children, I don't do well with violence in books. This book has some pretty blatant violence in it that was hard for me to read. (I'm sure it really isn't THAT bad, I just am ultra sensitive to it, especially when it has to do with children--there is a lot of castration and war and executions etc...) I had to read another "light" book while reading this one because it affected me ...more
Jan 12, 2008 Samia rated it it was ok
I was kind of disappointed that most of it is fiction (or at least the most important parts that form the basis of the story). You are thought to believe that this is based on a true story, but it is highly embellished, and culturally inaccurate in many cases. It kind of ruined the mystery of the Mughal Empire, the Taj Mahal, etc. for me. It is an easy read though, and somewhat entertaining, so if you like these sorts of love stories (but more on the side of a melodramatic soap opera) then you'l ...more
Apr 25, 2009 Stacey rated it liked it
I love historical fiction because I feel like I'm learning something while entertaining myself, which is great since I never paid attention in Social Studies in high school. I saw this book described online as "historical romance," and if you think of it like that, it's easier to stomach a lot of the nonsense in here. For instance, this is the kind of story where the main characters literally "chase one another through fields of wheat," "frolic on the sand," and "make love beneath the stars." Re ...more
Mar 24, 2008 Sydney rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most amazing books I've ever read. I am fascinated by books about other cultures. This historical fiction pick is set in India at the time the Taj Mahal was being built.

It delves into history, there's a love story, family struggles, drama, intrigue. This book has it all. I originally selected it because I ran a feature story on my newscast about the author, who will either call in to your book club, or, if your book club is big enough, he will make an appearance at your book c
I'm still in rapture over this novel, it just was written with such perfection. The perfect read for any historical fiction fan. A concise and sweeping story, eloquently told. A tale of adventure, passion, and a journey into an intelligent and daring 17th Century daughter of the emperor. Jaha's struggle is a precarious one, caught between forbidden love, sibling rivalries and duty. A powerful thrilling edge of the seat page-turner. It taught me new things about the intricacies of architecture in ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Leona rated it it was amazing
A historical epic saga filled with deceit, betrayal, love and a soul searing passion that had me mesmerized. Brother set against brother, fighting for power and a place in history. A sister caught between two brothers and trapped in a loveless, brutal marriage. A Father incarcerated for 10 years by his own son. Yet in spite all the pain and suffering, a love emerges that transcends the bitterness.

Not for the faint of heart, but truly an enjoyable read.

Definitely a love story, not a romance. At
Nov 20, 2015 Tonkica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gdje je ljubav nestala? Postovanje, iskrenost i kultura? Hvala sto postoji ova prica koja govori bas o tome!

4,5 jer je definitivno preduga! Komotno je moglo barem 100 stranica manje!

Feb 13, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mom, and mostly anyone
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Alli
What a beautiful book. So gracefully written, so emotional without over-doing it, it absorbed me from the first few pages.

There were absolutely some unpleasant situations, but I felt that they were handled as gently and tactfully as possible. They only increased the feeling that the main character/narrator Princess Jahanara was a woman of great strength and integrity.

I loved that there were no loose ends left at the end of the story. This book encapsulated the lives of the people in it, in almo
Nov 25, 2014 Mileto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Обичам да чета книги, които ме карат да се заровя в историческите източници, да прочета за всички места, хора и събития, описани в книгата. Усетих го като едно виртуално пътешествие на гърба на слон, с красиви гледки, драматични събития и дъх на подправки.

Хепи ендът ми хареса, макар че в живота не винаги така се случва.
Regina Lindsey
Beneath The Marble Sky by John Shors
2 Stars

Told through flashback sequences, Jahanara Begum Sahib reveals to her grandchildren that the lives they have led have been a ruse. Rather than children of a simple couple, they are actually the great-grandchildren of the late Mughal Emperor, who is most well known today for commissioning the construction of the Taj Mahal.

I know a lot of people absolutely adore this book. Unfortunately, I was incredibly disappointed. First, and most importantly for me
Jan 22, 2011 Olivia rated it really liked it
Just as precious jewels crowned the Taj Mahal, author John Shors has created a jewel and an impressive novel of love, honor, and betrayal. I think I've fallen in love with the author of this book. This book is so beautifully written, the language so concise and meaningful. For me, the novel was a fabulous reminder of how love truly should have no boundaries. One of the messages and teachings in the storyline is that to deny love is to deny God. I loved Jahanara's father, the Emperor, and what he ...more
After having read favorable reviews, I was looking forward to this book. I am not very well versed in the history of early India so this would be a learning experience for me. And indeed the tale of the conception and construction of the Taj Mahal was fascinating. The struggle for power among siblings and the ensuing brutal wars between Muslim and Hindi people was interesting as well.
But I really struggled to stay focused and finish this book. There was sooo very much excessively descriptive l
Apr 30, 2016 Skip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
After really enjoying Shors' Temple of a Thousand Faces, the ficionalized, but well researched story of Cambodia's Ankhor Wat, I have wanted to read this book about the Taj Mahal. It did not disappoint. The story is told by the clever Princess Jahanara, eldest daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan and his beloved Mumtaz Mahal, describing the treacherous battle for succession in India, her loveless politically-arranged marriage, and her falling in love with the architect of the mausoleum for her decease ...more
Maria Dimitrova
Jan 08, 2016 Maria Dimitrova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Дори по-скоро бих я оценила с 3.5, защото авторът е отишъл твърде далеч от рамките на достоверността и фактите. От историческа фикция е останала само фикцията.
Но пък книгата ме накара да се поразровя в историята, да прочета повече за Тадж Махал, шаха и неговата любима жена Мумтаз Махал, за която построява мавзолея.

Въпреки че не трябва да се разчита в голяма степен на романа за това как са протекли животът и отношенията на шаха, жена му, принцеса Джаханара и нейните братя и каква е била наисти
Dec 06, 2011 Louise marked it as to-read
Journey to dazzling seventeenth-century Hindustan, where the reigning emperor, consumed with grief over the tragic death of his beloved wife, commissioned the building of a grand mausoleum as a testament to the marvel of their love. This monument would soon become known as the Taj Mahal – a sight famous around the world for its beauty and the emotions it symbolizes.

Princess Jahanara, the courageous daughter of the emperor and his wife, tells their mesmerizing tale, while sharing her own paralle
Nov 09, 2011 Elyse rated it it was amazing
What's, NOT to LOVE about "Beneath The Marble Sky"? It has the feeling of "Pillars of the Earth" without being a thousand pages long ---and without THOSE Pillers. (which by the way, *Pillars* one of my favorite books, as I love Ken Follett's historical fiction books)...

The Taj Mahal is nothing to be shy about! (Have you been???). I have!!! Its BREATH TAKING with its white marble ---semi precious stones, calligraphy and cavings, and of course that amazing 'teardrop'....etc.

This little book
Oct 14, 2010 Gaile rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ancient-era
Princess Jahanara falls in love with the builder of the Taj Mahal. Her father commissioned the building after the death of Jahanara's mother. She is wed to a brutal man. Later her father realizes his mistake and helps her and Isa in their love.
Her brothers are at odds, one being gentle and bookish, the other a great warrior albeit with little mercy in his soul.
I think the author's ability to get into the mind and heart of a woman outstanding.
I found the descriptions of the wars in this period a
Aug 19, 2007 Teddy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2007
I read this book for my Historical Favorites Book Group. This was my review on

Historical Fiction at its Finest!

This historical fiction is about the story behind the building of the Taj Mahal, which was built to honor Mughal Empress Mumtaz Maha. It’s the saga of her family and is told by the central character Jahanara, the daughter of the Mughal emperor. It is a story of love, honor, and betrayal.

This book is exquisite! Shor’s deftly colors each page with breathtaking prose and breaths
Blessy Mathew
I am a fan of historical fiction and this is set in India against the backdrop of a Hindustan empire. In this first person narrative, Shors does a great job of portraying a true picture of India during the era of the Taj Mahal. Readers witness the story through the eyes of Jahanara, the princess. We meet all the characters as they come to life, adding to the story’s realism. The sacrifices, romances, political battles, and power struggles that they face add depth to this novel. Readers feel as i ...more
Mar 15, 2011 Holli rated it really liked it
This book taught me a thing or two, made me cry, and made me cheer for the characters. What a story! I had never read anything about the Taj Mahal or the Hindu and Muslim cultures and I was fascinated. This was truly a great love story..... I very much recommend this one! Thank you Teri for loaning it to me!
Glimpse into the 17th century world of Mughal India. Not sure how much of the history is really authentic, and disliked the overwrought love stories--of a princess and the architect of the Taj Mahal and also another -- of her best friend, a Hindu and a eunuch. I was captivated by the descriptions of building the Taj Mahal--actually a mausoleum commissioned by Shah Jehan for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. There was much sibling rivalry/hatred between the scholar brother, the heir-designate Dara ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I read about 110 pages, and this one is just not working for me. I'm not sure why, but I just don't feel transported. I think perhaps I can see too much of the author's striving in the writing. I wouldn't discourage others from reading it, but it's just not for me, I guess.
Nov 11, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
Great book! A story of the building of the Taj Mahal through the life of the daughter of the Emperor. A love story, a historical fiction and very well done! The life at court is similar to "The Other Bolyn Girl" which was also very well done!
Jun 11, 2013 Glenda rated it really liked it
Beneath a Marble Sky is the story of the building of the Taj Mahal, intertwined with stories of love, betrayal, war and loyalty. After the death of his beloved wife, the Emperor of Hindustan commissioned an architect to build a beautiful mausoleum in her honor. Princess Jahanara, the Emperor’s daughter, worked with the architect, monitoring the construction progress and ensuring the wishes of the Emperor were met. This intriguing story also recounts the tale of Jahanara’s abusive marriage and fo ...more
Jan 01, 2009 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction
Recommended to Valerie by: was some library's bookclub selection
This is a historical fiction novel about the building of the Taj Mahal. As the author notes in the fine print on the title page, historical scholars disagree on numerous matters such as the construction method of the Taj Mahal, the identity of the principal architect and even how long it took to build. There apparently was a power struggle between the emperor's sons after the death of his beloved wife for whom the structure was built. So the story is indeed fiction, but based on what is thought ...more
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
Simply put this book was amazing & dazzling!!! It is now among my favorite books I have ever read. It was so beautifully and elegantly written! I truly was immersed in the story. BENEATH A MARBLE SKY was about love, war, jealousy, betrayal & friendship. I cried at the end of the book. I loved the journey this book took me it it was breath-taking!

I loved the concept behind the story line on how the Taj Mahal was built. I am not so keen on the Taj Mahal and it's history but after reading t
Apr 16, 2010 Nikki rated it really liked it
Short description/summary of the book:
Journey to dazzling 17th century Hindustan, where the reigning emperor, consumed with grief over the tragic death of his beloved wife, commissioned the building of a grand mausoleum as a testament to the marvel of their love. This monument would soon become known as the Taj Mahal – a sight famous around the world for its beauty and the emotions it symbolizes.
Princess Jahanara, the courageous daughter of the emperor and his wife, tells their mesmerizing tale
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 20, 2015 11:37AM  
Beneath a Marble Sky 4 90 Oct 23, 2008 02:07PM  
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Hi, everyone. I hope this message finds people well.

I'm the bestselling author of Beneath a Marble Sky, Temple of a Thousand Faces, Cross Currents, Beside a Burning Sea, Dragon House, and The Wishing Trees. My novels have won multiple awards and have been translated into twenty six languages. I have also spoken (via speakerphone) with more than 3,000 book clubs around the world.

For more informatio
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“Loved ones are sometimes taken from us, either by death or other circumstances outside our control. Yes, we should lament their departure and yes, we should pray for them often. But we shouldn't dwell so deeply upon such vacancies that life itself becomes empty.” 17 likes
“Never deny yourself love, my child. For to deny love is to deny God's greatest gift. And who are we to deny God?” 17 likes
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