Book Reviews of Beneath a Marble Sky

Beneath a Marble Sky
Beneath a Marble Sky
Author: John Shors
ISBN-13: 9780451218469
ISBN-10: 0451218469
Publication Date: 6/6/2006
Pages: 368
Edition: Reprint
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 179

4 stars, based on 179 ratings
Publisher: NAL Trade
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

27 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
Beneath a Marble Sky is historical fiction at its best. Well researched and beautifully written this story of the building of the Taj Mahal is a beautiful story of love and its enduring qualities. Since very little is known about the actual story of the Taj Mahal, most of the story is indeed fiction, but based in what facts are known.

The story is told through the voice of Jahanara, daughter of the Shah Jahan and one of his wives Mumtaz Mahal. Jahanara relays the story of the building of the Taj Mahal to her granddaughters. In so doing she tells the tale of her parents great love for one another and her own forbidden love for the architect who comes to build the Taj Mahal after the death of her mother. We also learn the story of Jahanara's two brothers Dara and Aurangzeb who vie for the throne even though their father is still very much alive.

Vivid details make it seem as if you are seeing not only the building of the Taj, but also the harems, bazaars and living spaces of 17th century Hindustan. Also the universal feelings of love, loss and betrayal are brought wonderfully to life.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 131 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Absolutely one of the best novels I've ever read! The amazing story of the building of the Taj Mahal and the love that surpassed all other. A story of bravery, romance, determination, hatred and so much more. Truly, this is one of my all time favorite books I've ever read!
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 174 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
"Beneath a Marble Sky" is a beautiful story of a forbidden romance between the Mughul princess Jahanara and the architect who designed the Taj Mahal. The Princess Jahanara, eldest daughter of the Hindustani ruler Shah Jahan, tells the story in flashback form to her two granddaughters. The story is one of great loves, great treachery, and the building of one of the world's greatest monuments, the Taj Mahal. This was a wonderful story which made me want to learn more about the building of the Taj Mahal.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
First novel by John Shor providing a historical glimpse of India during the 1600's written from a women's view. This novel tells the story of the building of the Taj Mahal.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I am a sucker for a well written historical especially when they center around wonderful characters of history. Most of this book is obviously fiction and much artistic lisence has been taken by the author in regards to the real life players. With that said however, this was one of the most lushly written pieces I have had the pelasure to read in awhile.

You feel as if you are in the story with the wonderful descriptions that paint a lavish world full of both beauty and danger. Combine that with a backdrop of one of the most beautiful love stories of all time and you have a book that stays with you look afetr the last page is read.

I enjoyed the inner strength of the heroine and found myself on pinds and needles, anxiously turning pages formuch of the novel. Its definetly one of the best I have read so far this year.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 97 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A heartwarming, story of two lovers who could never be married because she was in a terrible arranged marriage. It ended quite tearfully. I loved the story but there was too much violence for my taste. But in reading, it is easy to skim over those parts.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A timeless love story..beautifully written. It seemed as if I was standing right there. I felt the hurt, the desception, the love, the pride, the hate. A must read!
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Historical fiction about Hindustan during the time of the building of the Taj Mahal.
An interesting read with very likeable characters.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 35 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
beautiful love story of the Emperor of India who loved his wife so much that he built her a beautiful monument in her memory and named it The Taj Mahal.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Very interesting book. Hated for it to end. Lovely story of love, loyalty, and service.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on
Helpful Score: 2
Read this book with my Book Club and it was a refreashing change. A very interesting (fictional) read of the Emperor of India (then Hindustan) and his family, and the building of the Taj Mahal around 1632. The story is told through the Emperor's favorite daughter, Princess Jahanara, from young girl to old woman. Strong female lead character. The subtitle of this book is "A Love Story" and there are many stories of love in the narrative. Couple of scenes got me emotional as they were so tenderly written. Good story telling and you really get involved with (and root) for the characters. Scenes are well told and you get a good feeling about what it was like to live during that time period.
Gave it 4 1/2 stars.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I liked this book, although I didn't love it as many people seem to. I'm not quite sure what it was lacking for me. Strangely, I never fell in love with the main character, Jahanara. I think it's a decent read, just not one of my all-time faves.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book is FABULOUS! If you loved Memoirs of A Geisha, you will love this book!
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The book was a very good, easy read. Beneath a Marble Sky provided me with a different thought process on the Taj Mahal.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating (historical fiction) account of building of the Taj Mahal from the point of view of the daughter of the woman it inspired. Really astounding how this was designed and built in the seventeenth century, amid wars, political intrigue, and family ruin.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I am somewhat familiar with the actual history of this period and the fictional characters like "shivaji the war lord and friend of Nijam" was a put off for me. Shivaji was a great king who was completely self made and well loved by his people. He was known to treat women with respect and that was reflected in his character.
Other than that, the book has a solid storyline that kept me readikng.I found the story telling style to be too dramatic at times but it helps create the atmosphere of that era. Reading this book, does make me want to visit Taj Mahal.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 643 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Synopsis: (No Spoilers)
The story is told through the voice of Jahanara, daughter of the Shah Jahan and one of his wives Mumtaz Mahal. Jahanara relays the story of the building of the Taj Mahal to her granddaughters. In so doing she tells the tale of her parents great love for one another and her own forbidden love for the architect who comes to build the Taj Mahal after the death of her mother. We also learn the story of Jahanara's two brothers Dara and Aurangzeb who vie for the throne even though their father is still very much alive.

NOTES:
I will admit that this is not my usual fare (I have found most novels I have read about India disepointing), so Im not the ideal audience for the novel. So my response to the novel -as you might expect- was mixed.
I admired several things about the book. It was a quick book with a LOT of romance and plot twists. It does certainly succeed as a light and mostly fun novel. Mainly, I enjoyed learning more about this time period and setting.

However, several things drove me crazy about the book. First, the love scenes between Jahanara and Isa were too one-note. They dont get to know each other; their relationship doesnt develop and grow through trials. Instead, they love each other madly, and all scenes between them consist of ecstatic exhortations of how much they love each other. That would all be fine if there was more to the relationship to make it seem more real. Then was the pretty unbelievable plot elements that were in the novel. Its a historical stretch that Jahanara would be given all of the power that she is afforded in the novel (i.e. that this culture would allow Jahanara to act as the emperors agent for the building of the Taj Mahal). The bigger stretch is that Jahanara takes the just mind-bogglingly stupid risks that she takes in the final 40 pages of the novel after her character has been so firmly established for the previous 320 pages as being a good judge of people and situations and as placing as her highest priorities Isa and her child. The things that happen toward the end of the book make utterly no sense after reading the rest of the novel.

And lastly the book reads very flat and is predictable, with the characters being two dimentional, and un-engaging. And being familiar with the Muslim culture, I must add that there are big NO-NOs the author presented with a 21 cet. western/feminist attitude... such as the-absolutely-tabo-kind-of-forbiden premerital DISHONORABLE relations (read sex) which is openly discussed between Jahanara and her female friend. The friend presents it matter of factly like it is a no big deal, and Jahanara though a bit shocked takes in, in one stride and carefuly listens to the adwice how she her self can do it without being caught...I was also shocked that the restrictions imposed by the harem were totally ignored by the author. Jahanarah was Begum Sahib, she would not have been allowed to leave the harem, nor would she have been allowed to be touched by anyone of a lower rank. Further, her mother the empress not only leaves the harem unveiled but touches men other than her husband, it just wouldn't have been done. Other errors pertain to Arjumand's heritage; (her aunt was Nur Jahan, empress to Emperor Jahangir) she was no common shop girl, and other major aspects that should have been researched.

...All in all it was a moderately well executed book with some highlights. I did NOT hate this book, but nor can I say, that I liked it, either. As a Romance it was pretty good book, but as an accurate historical novel, for me at least, it was a disappointment.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on
Helpful Score: 1
I found this an easy-reading book that I could get lost in. I loved the description of the time period in which it took place and I tried to imagine being there during that time. As I have visited the Taj Mahal, it was fun, for me, to remember what I saw versus what was being described. And what girl doesn't love a romantic love story?
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 98 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I did a bit of research with this book because I cannot help but be historical in that, and while the names of the people and where they stood is rather accurate, I believe a great deal of the rest of the love story is not accurate, that said the author warns against that right in the beginning of the book. So if you can ignore those glaring historical inaccuracies you will find yourself in a beautiful world. The Taj Mahal is one of thee if not the most beautiful building in the world, and to think it is a mausoleum and so a tribute to the woman who it holds is something that is sure to tug at your heart strings.

Beneath a marble sky paints a picture of love, loss devotion and hardship. It truly puts the reader into the middle of a war torn time that made for an instable area, and yet among it all was the Taj Mahal and a showing that true love can truly conquer all even death. If you love a good historical story and want to feel close to the characters this is the book for you. I was saddened when the book ended and kept demanding more pages to appear at the end. I wanted to know more, I wanted to follow the story and its characters for longer.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Made even better by the fact that I visited the Taj Mahal with my children and their father, I truly enjoyed this book!! He did a pretty good job of writing the book from a woman's point of view. Having lived in India for 1-1/2 years, I found it simply fascinating.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 118 more book reviews
Lush and lovely, this book is a great example of historical fiction done well. It traces the history of the building of the Taj Mahal, from the perspectives of the individual members of the royal family whose father built it. Great period detail, great emotions and realistic happenings, this book is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 59 more book reviews
Best book I have read in a while!
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 3 more book reviews
Amazing tale of a legendary move by one man to exalt the woman he loved. Told by his daughter, you will be drawn into the love story and choosing to side with her all along the way. This is the second John Shors book I've read and while this story is different, his exhilarating story style is the same. A must read!
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 21 more book reviews
I loved it....
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on
slow to start, gets better as you go...
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 25 more book reviews
One of my all time favorites.
reviewed Beneath a Marble Sky on + 37 more book reviews
A wonderful book. Well written with believable characters. I loved it the whole way through.