This reading group guide for Shadow Princess includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Indu Sundaresan. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. Introduction
In Shadow Princess
, Indu Sundaresan returns to the vibrant land she depicted in her novels The Twentieth Wife
and The Feast of Roses
—seventeenth century India, where the court of the Mughal Empire is thrown into turmoil after the untimely death of the Empress Mumtaz Mahal.
The Emperor, overwhelmed by grief, considers giving up his throne before changing his mind and focusing his energies on creating a spectacular memorial for his beloved wife. Jahanara, their eldest daughter, becomes her father’s closest ally and confidant. As she assumes the coveted role of head of the zenana
, the imperial harem, a rivalry with her sister Roshanara escalates into a dangerous competition: for authority within the harem, for their father’s affection, and for the future of their country, each supporting a different brother to be the next Emperor.
With a flair and enthusiasm for history and culture, Sundaresan creates a richly detailed and vivid novel about the lives of