The Taj Mahal stands as a monument to an emperor’s love for his wife. In the shadows of the Taj Mahal’s story is that of the emperor’s daughter Princess Juhanara: a determined woman who helped rule her father’s empire, dared forbidden love and saw the disintegration of her family lead to the next emperor…
Shadow Princess immerses the reader in a tempestuous time and place: where an Emperor holds absolute power and a family is undone by its individual members’ certainty in their own supremacy. Sundaresan draws the reader in with descriptions which involve the senses. For example, “to fill the cups to their brims, thousands of henna leaves had been harvested when they had just unfurled at the break of dawn, dewdrops still glittering like crystals on the young green” (129). Her characters, especially Juhanara and her brother Prince Aurangzeb, interest the reader. Juhanara is intelligent, devoted and sure of herself. Prince Aurangzeb has a gift for court diplomacy, fights not be overshadowed by his complacent brother Prince Dara and is a mixture of devotion and intolerance. The two stories, the Taj Mahal’s construction and the fate of the royal family, provide an interesting look at India in this time in its history. Shadow Princess is a good match for readers wanting lush detail, to spend time with engaging characters and/or learn more about India.
Want other books like Shadow Princess which transport the reader to India?
A teenager with an incurable disease offers a unique look at India before, during and after independence in Shree Ghage’s Brahma’s Dream.
An Indian couple marries for love but their happiness, and survival, are threatened by the upheaval in India following World War II in Shona Patel’s Teatime for the Firefly.
Books such as Eraly Abraham’s The Mughal Throne: The Saga of India’s Great Emperors provide more information on the Mughal royals and their actions.