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The daughters of Emperor Jahangir Jahanara and Roshanara plot and scheme against one another in an attempt to gain power over their father’s harem As royal princesses they are confined in the imperial harem and not allowed to marry However this does not stop them from having illicit affairs or plotting the next heir. Hand down it really isn t your typical Bollywood romance Shadow Princess is the final book of Indu Sundaresan s Taj Mahal trilogy This time the heroine is Jahanara Begum the first born daughter of Shah Jahan and his beloved ueen consort Mumtaz MahalThe love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal emperor and empress of the Mughal Empire needs no introduction since this romance has been immortalized by the Taj Mahal the white marble mausoleum Shah Jahan built for his wife But what is a lot less famous is the stories of the royal couple s children 4 sons and 3 daughters and how Mumtaz s death affected the royal family and the fate of the royal couple s children especially Jahanara Begum s The author revealed the tale of Princess Jahanara and the unusual position she had been placed in after her mother s death the 17 years old Jahanara inherited half of her mother s fortune and the statue of Padshah Begum mistress of the harem and First Lady of the Empire which instantly made her the most powerful and wealthy woman in the empire But power and wealth was followed by endless responsibilities to support both her father and her family court intrigues sandals mostly the suspicion of incest between Jahanara and her father her younger sister Roshanara Begum s jealousy and the hostility among her four brothers Plus her fledgling romance with Najabat Khan a noble in her father s court was also jeopardized because the Emperor was unwilling to allow his favorite daughter to get married I m not very sure why Shah Jahan would forbid his daughters to get married supposedly the daughters getting married would weaken the emperor s hold on his throne but I still can t see how would marry off a few daughters would create troubles for the emperor I guess it must have something to do with the princesses sons might grow up and then challenge the throne but it isn t well explained in the storyIf you expected to see some Earth shaking romance like the ones in the Bollywood movies you will be disappointed Sure there are affection heartache and doubts between the heroine and Najabat Khan plus there is a forbidden aspect in their love since they couldn t get married but their romance is pretty much down to earth As years passed Jahanara took other lovers Najabat Khan took other women as his wives and started a family of his own yet the two continued to love each other from afar through the decades I understand not many people like this development but I found it to be uite refreshingThe heroine s younger sister Roshanara is pretty much written off as a jealous spoiled brat in this story but historically she seems to be a skilled player in the power game and she actually helped one of her brothers Aurangzeb to become the next emperor Therefore I do hope Roshanara could have room in the narrationbecause it does feel like Roshanara was even shadowed by both her famous mother and her powerful beloved older sister I mean by the later half of this book even the princes have space and screen time than Roshanara herself arghOnce again the author built her world with a lot of fine details about the cultures food rituals customs of the society of that time Also once again the struggle for the throne plays an important part in the latter half of the storyI also do like how the author skipped a generation to write the stories of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal s children instead of writing the romance between the emperor and empress because let s face it too many people had already written stories about these two though their stories are very much worth telling yet the stories about their children seem to have a bit rooms for imagination and development My review for the first book review for the first two books of the series Chinese article about the historical Jahanara Begum Chinese article about the historical Mehrun Nissa great aunt of Jahanara

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Shadow Princess Taj Mahal Trilogy #3

To the throne These royal sisters are in competition for everything power over the harem their father’s affection still focused on his dead wife and the future of their country Unfortunately only one of them can succeed And despite their best efforts to affect the future their schemes are eclipsed both during their l. I LOVED The Twentieth Wife and I thought The Feast of Roses was good but Shadow Princess was just slow It skips a generation and picks up when Empress Mumtaz Mahal dies in childbirth her husband Emperor Shah Jahan decides to build the Taj Mahal for her and their eldest daughter Jahanara becomes Shah Jahan s trusted confidant essentially filling her mother s role And then not a whole lot happens There s not really much discussion of the building of the Taj Mahal there s a little bit of sibling suabbling there are a few love affairs but mostly this book is about what the rich are eating or wearing or how they travel throughout the empire and actually that s about itUntil chapter 25 when the war of succession begins While I was reading this book a lot of uestions came to mind For instance how does the Emperor get all of these riches What are all of his workers paid What caused the downfall of India And what happened to Goharara the child born when Mumtaz Mahal diesI ll start with the fourth uestion first Simply we don t know Around the age of two her character makes a reappearance on an elephant as the imperial family is traveling around the empire but after that nothing Maybe she died during her childhood Maybe she lived a rather uneventful life Maybe there was simply nothing else mentioned of her in Sundaresan s researchBasically and I m really simplifying this here but the downfall of India occurred for three reasons One and the common fall of empires is that they simply spent all of the money that previous generations have through time the common denominator in the fall of any civilization is a lack of resources of some sort Secondly Aurangzeb who assumed the throne after Shah Jahan was less tolerant of other religions than both his father and grandfather and thus he disgruntled a lot of people Finally and perhaps most significantly the British came in and took over as they were wont to do around the worldNow I ll discuss the first two uestions I asked I don t actually have answers but I have some ideas In Mogul India the Emperor owns everything and once you die it reverts to him Traditionally he ll divide the holdings among the persons heirs meaning sons but not always So the emperor also owns the gold mines and such Then there are the taxes I can t uite figure out this system because the emperor can grant cities to people and then they collect the taxes which is their income somehow And finally there s lots of exporting of spices The book doesn t cover what the masses do but the imperial family lives extravagantly My suspicion is that most of their wealth comes from owning everything and not from taxes because I doubt the common people are paid very well and therefore couldn t likely pay a lot of taxes My two hypotheses are that the value of money was very different then than it is today I don t mean what the money euals in today s dollars but what you could do with itget for it or that the trickle down effect may actually have worked although I seriously doubt itAnyway if you re interested in the time period Beneath a Marble Sky is a much better read

Read Shadow Princess Taj Mahal Trilogy #3

Ives and in posterity as they live in the shadow of the greatest monument in Indian history the Taj MahalWith a flair and enthusiasm for history and culture Sundaresan creates a story full of rich details that brings the reader deep into the world of the lives of Indian women and their struggles for power and conseuenc. Shadow Princess is set in the Mughal Empire at the eve of Mumtaz Mahal s death The novel uickly delves into Shah Jahan s despair unusual in a society where a man has multiple wives and his contemplation of abdicating the throne for which he had fought so hard However after a few days Shah Jahan emerges from seclusion with the idea of building the Taj Mahal During Shah Jahan s mourning for his wife the power dynamics shifted First in the Mughal Empire succession wass determined by might not primogeniture While seemingly fair compared to the European tradition of primogeniture in reality male heirs competed for the throne first through political posturing and then through murder Second power shifted in the royal zehana harem as well Instead of shifting to one of Shah Jahan s surviving wives power shifted to Jahanara the Shah s eldest daughter Thus both the royal sons and royal daughters feudedThe novel centers on this competition from the perspective of Jahanara and secondarily Rohanara Shah Jahan s second daughter Because of Shah Jahan s increasing reliance of the wise and beautiful Jahanara he decides that she shall never marry For a reason unclear in the novel Roshanara is likewise forbidden to marry The daughters compete for supremacy by backing different contenders for the throne Jahanara backs the eldest son Dara and Roshanara backs Aurangzeb the sly and ambitious third son The novel also alternates between chapters on the building of the Taj Mahal I found the chapters on the Taj Mahal to be rather dull It also slowed down the narrative I also thought that the character development was rather wooden in the first half of the novel For me the novel really picked up in the second half after Shah Jahan casts off his lengthy mourning and the daughters manage to weild far power especially Jahanara than would be expected for a woman living in purdah in a zenana Overall the novel warrants 35 stars The first half was rather slow but the second half was interesting as character development improved and the author focused a bit lest on the minutiae relating to the building of the Taj Mahal Shah Jahan s ultimate demise was rather tragic I don t want to spoil it for those who do not know who succeeds him and how that succession occurs but I think the story of Shah Jahan and his sons shares much of the poignancy of Henry II of England and his sons in the 12th century


10 thoughts on “Shadow Princess Taj Mahal Trilogy #3

  1. says:

    Shadow Princess Taj Mahal Trilogy #3 Indu SundaresanCritically acclaimed author Indu Sundaresan picks up where she left off in The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses returning to seventeenth century India as two princesses strug

  2. says:

    Hand down it really isn't your typical Bollywood romance Shadow Princess is the final book of Indu Sundaresan's Taj Mahal trilogy This time the heroine is Jahanara Begum the first born daughter of Shah Jahan and his beloved ueen consort Mumtaz MahalThe love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal emperor and empress of

  3. says:

    This was a huge letdown in comparison Second part was really almost awesomeI don’t know why the author skipped

  4. says:

    I LOVED The Twentieth Wife and I thought The Feast of Roses was good but Shadow Princess was just slow It skips a generation and picks up when Empress Mumtaz Mahal dies in childbirth her husband Emperor Shah Jahan decides to build the Taj Mahal for her and their eldest daughter Jahanara becomes Shah Jahan's trusted confidant essentially filling her mother's role And then not a whole lot happens There's not really much

  5. says:

    I just finished reading Shadow Princess the third book in Sundaresan's series about the women of Mughal India Unlike the Feast of Roses which should be preceded in reading by the Twentieth Wife this one stands on its ownIt begins with the death of Mumtaz Mahal the woman for whom the Taj Mahal was built and ends with her husband's death In between the life of their eldest daughter Jahanara is told with love and historical accurac

  6. says:

    The Moghul emperors are still bloodthirsty and entirely ruthless; they control a uarter of the world’s population and have wealth beyond imagining But this is the final flowering of a doomed empire and while Shah Jahan mourns his dead wife and obsesses over the Taj Mahal her monument his son Aurangzeb is planning to take his father’s throne by any means necessaryCritically acclaimed author Indu Sundaresa

  7. says:

    I finished reading Shadow Princess today which also marks the completion of Taj Mahal TrilogyWhen I started reading the first book The Twentieth Wife I instantly fell in love with Indu Surdaresan's art of story telling that how beautifully she has presented the complicated and what some people may think as boring histor

  8. says:

    Shadow Princess is set in the Mughal Empire at the eve of Mumtaz Mahal's death The novel uickly delves into Shah Jahan's despair unusual in a society where a man has multiple wives and his contemplation of abdicating the throne for which he had fought so hard However after a few days Shah Jahan emerges from seclusion with

  9. says:

    For lovers of historical fiction nothing is better than a book that has you immersed in the storyline and engages all of your five senses so that when you look up from reading it takes you a couple of seconds to re orient to your current surroundings Shadow Princess by Indu Sundaresan was just that book for me When Shadow Princess opens we are transported to 17th century India as the Mumtaz Muhal the much beloved wife o

  10. says:

    Although the book is third in the series of three I have no problem in the reading It begins with the death of Mumtaz upon

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