Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beneath a Marble Sky” as Want to Read:
Beneath a Marble Sky
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Beneath a Marble Sky

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  13,779 ratings  ·  1,785 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, 344 pages
Published June 6th 2006 by NAL Trade (first published June 18th 2004)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beneath a Marble Sky, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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, especial…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)
The Help by Kathryn StockettThe Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniWater for Elephants by Sara GruenThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Best for Book Clubs
6,913 books — 12,677 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
6,461 books — 26,002 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,779 ratings  ·  1,785 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Beneath a Marble Sky
Apr 08, 2010 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 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
Jul 09, 2008 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.
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 wisdo ...more
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
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, india
It is an average book. I thought the characters were way too one-dimensional. It felt more fantasy than historical, at least to me.
Apr 11, 2009 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
Jan 04, 2008 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
May 19, 2007 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
Jan 12, 2015 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
Krista De Las Alas
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it
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.
Elyse  Walters
Nov 02, 2011 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
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 decease ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
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. Go
Nov 11, 2008 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!
Jul 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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 marri
Sara Register
Sep 30, 2007 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
Aug 19, 2007 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
Oct 11, 2010 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
Jan 10, 2011 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
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
Simran Khurana
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 06, 2011 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
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 bo
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
As the writer claimed, this book is a historical fiction thus one can’t really argue on its historical accuracy. However, to my disappointment there are quite some significant deviations between historical facts and what were written in this book.

Shors wrote that Jahanara was wedded to a sadistic silver merchant. The marriage was not going well and she then had an affair with the Taj Mahal’s architect; Isa. Jahanara and Isa later had a daughter named after Jahanara’s mother; Arjumand.

The fact is
Dec 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
What. The. Hell.
Did this author even bother to do the tiniest bit of research before writing this book? I just can't deal with the numerous historical inaccuracies. He claims the book is fiction because of something or the other but dude, you are writing about actual people who actually existed once upon a time. First of all, Jahanara never married. Why the hell would the emperor marry her off to an abusive silver merchant?! Princesses can only marry into royalty and that too within the family.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: wall-banger
Here's another one where I don't get all the glowing reviews. Everyone is either pure as the driven snow or the most horrendous villain that ever existed. The emporer's children going swimming in the river unescorted? The emporer's daughter COOKING? Hellooooooo. To each his own, but I urge you to get this one from the library then buy it if you love at.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Twentieth Wife (Taj Mahal Trilogy, #1)
  • Todos os Sonhos do Mundo
  • Shadow Princess (Taj Mahal Trilogy, #3)
  • The Feast of Roses (Taj Mahal Trilogy, #2)
  • Daughters of Fortune
  • Пиреј
  • When the Heart Cries (Sisters of the Quilt, #1)
  • Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice
  • You Are a Goddess: Working with the Sacred Feminine to Awaken, Heal and Transform
  • Nine Faces of Christ: A Narrative of Nine Great Mystic Initiations of Joseph-Bar-Joseph In...
  • The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity
  • Gaia Codex
  • Jesus: My Autobiography
  • Touché (Touché, #1)
  • A Child's Game
  • High School Paradise
  • Let Go
  • Heart Block: Biarkan Cinta Menemukanmu
See similar books…
Hi, everyone. I hope this message finds people well.

I'm the bestselling author of The Demon Seekers trilogy, My Midnight Sun, 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

Related Articles

Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people fall in love with books about falling in love. Every month our team...
57 likes · 12 comments
“Never deny yourself love, my child. For to deny love is to deny God's greatest gift. And who are we to deny God?” 24 likes
“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.” 18 likes
More quotes…