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Beneath a Marble Sky

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  10,051 ratings  ·  1,522 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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Best for Book Clubs
101st out of 3,549 books — 9,179 voters
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Best Historical Fiction
144th out of 4,683 books — 18,512 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
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
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
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
Feb 13, 2013 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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!
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.
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!
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Ricki Jill Treleaven
The Dixie Diva Book Club July Selection is Beneath a Marble Sky by Johns Shors. This book is by far the best book we have read all year, and it is one of my all-time favorite book club selections. This book has been out since 2004, so it is not new, but it is a fantastic read. This book will definitely stay on my keeper shelf!

The book is historical fiction about the building of one of the Eight Wonders of the World: the Taj Mahal. In seventeenth Hundustan, the Emperor Shah Jahan is mourning the
Exotic, Erotic, Exemplary Prose Bathing Historical Fiction

John Shors has the gift. It is as simple as that. In BENEATH A MARBLE SKY he has created a stunning love story woven through the interstices of the 16th century Hindustani building of the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the world, a place on earth where Paradise touches mortals in a magnificent mausoleum for the beloved wife of the Emperor. Not only is this a symphonic novel of surpassing craftsmanship and beauty, it is also a boo
I enjoyed reading this book, but I really struggled as to the rating.

Wanting to see detailed pictures of the Taj Mahal after reading about it, I did a little research. While I am totally okay with and expect fiction when I read historical fiction, I think this novel might be stretching the limits.

This is a love story between a princess and the architect of the Taj Mahal, her mother's tomb. It is a forbidden love, as she is married to another man. Apparently, the princess in question never marri
These books written in ancient Persian times have a special allure because the authors, John Shors included, often quote ancient religious texts like the Upanishads and poets like Rumi. John has done a remarkable job in bringing this time period alive through his characters, both Hindu and Muslim, whose different religious beliefs were causing dissention in the Hindustan of 1632. The Emporer at the time was Shah Jahan, and when his wife died he was so grief stricken that he 'ordered the building ...more
Jan 28, 2009 Brooke rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brooke by: Book club
This is the story of the plot contrivances necessary to create a romance about the Taj Mahal. Okay, a bit harsh, I know, but the entire time I read this book I felt that the first line of each chapter, instead of giving a succinct synopsis of what was about to occur, should state: "Now the author has created the world's worst husband to marry unhappy narrator to, therefore leaving no moral ambiguity about her right to fall in love with the architect of the Taj Mahal, just in case reader is too b ...more
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
Shors created a beautiful work filled with a full range of emotions around the creation of the Taj Mahal. It is the story of Jahanara, an emperor's daughter, and her family complete with sibling jealousy, adoration and admiration for her parents, betrayal, sacrifice, passion and compassion. The Taj Mahal was commissioned as a memorial to Jahanara's beautiful mother by her adoring husband, the emperor. But it was also designed and built by Isa who figures prominently into Jahanara's life in other ...more
Sheila Bennett
What a wonderful story! This is the life story of Jahanara, a Princess of Hindustan - she tells the story to her granddaughters so that they will know their true ancestors. She endures many cruelties in her life - as one hate-filled brother is determined to overthrow their father and older brother.

After her mother dies, her father is grief stricken - and wants to build a palace of immense beauty to honor his wife. His nickname for her is Mumtaz Mahal, which is shortened to Taj Mahal. Partly as
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 20, 2015 11:37AM  
Beneath a Marble Sky 4 87 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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Beside a Burning Sea Dragon House Temple of a Thousand Faces The Wishing Trees Cross Currents

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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.” 15 likes
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