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Beneath a Marble Sky

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  13,436 ratings  ·  1,760 reviews
In 1632, the Emperor of Hindustan, Shah Jahan, consumed by grief over the death of his empress, Mumtaz Mahal, ordered the building of a grand mausoleum to symbolize the greatness of their love. Against scenes of unimaginable wealth and power, murderous sibling rivalries, and cruel despotism, Princess Jahanara tells the extraordinary story of how the Taj Mahal came to be, ...more
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published August 4th 2004 by McPherson (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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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  13,436 ratings  ·  1,760 reviews


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Zeek
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
...more
Kristin
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Darshana
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Beneath a Marble Sky' is much too much about a royal daughter's dutiful life of self-sacrifice - she practically gets ecstatic when she discovers a sacrifice situation actually - than I could accept. The combination of silly pointless self-sacrifices and the way her breathless love in the shadows unfolded struck me as impossibly bizarre. She did so very little to protect herself at important junctures, in the name of love. It also appeared to me she often relied heavily on the kindness or ...more
Karla
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
Natasa
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, romance
It is an average book. I thought the characters were way too one-dimensional. It felt more fantasy than historical, at least to me.
Sydney
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Leona
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Samia
May 19, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Krista De Las Alas
This was a really good story even though there were some rough times through it. It definitely made me fall in love with the Taj Mahal and I like hearing about it’s history.
Stacey
Apr 11, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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." ...more
Skip
Apr 30, 2016 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 ...more
Elyse  Walters
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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*...is 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
...more
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
Kate
Nov 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Amy
A melodramatic tale that plays fast and loose with historical accuracy and the reader's patience.

I knew going in this would probably not enjoy this book, but I hoped I might anyway. Forbidden love and angst are two things I like to avoid...but India! The Taj Mahal! Historical fiction! Political intrigue! Had to be worth trying, right?
Ehhh, not so much. I didn't learn much about the creation of the Taj Mahal and I'm skeptical of the little I did learn.
The characters are either Good or Evil.
...more
Gaile
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Olivia
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Melodie
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
...more
Erin
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
One day, Jahanara realizes that it is time to tell the story of her past to her two young granddaughters. As they listen intently, their grandmother spins the tale of a young girl well- loved by her parents, the Emperor and Empress of Hindustan in the 17th century. Jahanara recalls the years of her childhood when she and her four brothers and two sisters were sheltered by the love of their parents. But not everything can stay exactly as we expect it to and as the years go by, Jahanara
...more
Teddy
Aug 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2007
I read this book for my Historical Favorites Book Group. This was my review on Amazon.ca:

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
...more
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 ...more
Louise
Dec 06, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Grady
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Ashley
Jul 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
...more
Autumn
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really a love story type of girl. Most seem to lack authenticity or emotional depth for me maybe? Just an opinion that I'm not quite sure how it developed or it was attained by me? However, I found this story absolutely exquisite and it touched my heart. I would recommend this without hesitation.
Holli
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Kristen
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. I was entirely captivated the entire time. Everyone should read this - it's such an amazing story.
Simran Khurana
I'm rendered speechless! This book is no historical fiction. Fiction, yes, it is! But it as close to history as Frankenstein is to comedy.

John Shors has messed up the entire history of Mughal Empire. He has no idea what he is writing about. It clearly shows that a mere visit to India or the Taj Mahal does not qualify you to be a writer of historical fiction. If you ever visit the Taj Mahal, and meet those self-appointed touts who act as Guides for a measly sum, you will find that even they know
...more
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I'm the bestselling author of The Demon Seekers trilogy, Unbound, 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
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