Alcornell's Reviews > Beneath a Marble Sky

Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors
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's review
Dec 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: novelized-bio, romance
Read in October, 2011

In this story we get as great a picture of the politics of the time (Hindustan in the 17th C) including battles with neighboring factions and power struggles within the royal family as the construction of the Taj Mahal .

Some others have found it reminiscent of Ken Follett's "The Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End". There is the strong female heroine--in this book we stick with her point of view throughout. There is the parallel between the building of the cathedrals and the building of the Taj Mahal. However, this story is pitched in high contrast between fundamentalism and tolerance, truth/beauty vs evil, masculine and feminine values. It is technically a historical novel. The romance is the thread that pulls it together and makes it the readable tale it is.

Jahanarra is a modern heroine, and in that is the flaw for me. She struggles with questions a princess of her era would not have. But this is nit-picking. The story is beautiful, and draws one to India and the Taj Mahal by speaking to that profound love that was its founding impulse.

For contrast in eras, I re-watched "Monsoon Wedding" and was reminded of the beauty and vibrancy of India's traditions and the delights of its beauty and passions, the sobering regard of women.
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message 1: by Vicar (new)

Vicar Sayeedi Thanks, Alcornell. Contrary to popular understanding, there have been several noteworthy and powerful female figures in the history of the subcontinent. The true story of Jahanara is certainly one such story - in real life, she was a truly wonderful and caring human being. But the the story of her ethereal mother, Arjumand Banu and Noor Jahan are also deep and fascinating!

I'm exploring this history in a three book series that I'm currently writing. The first book is now published, "Legacy of The Peacock Throne"; it's a story about Shah Jahan and Mumtaz.

Vicar... (Goodreads Author)

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