Trapped in the shadow of the magnificent tomb their grief-stricken father is building for his beloved deceased wife, the emperor’s daughters compete for everything: control over the imperial harem, their father’s affection, and the future of their country. They are forbidden to marry and instead choose to back different brothers in the fight for ultimate power over the throne. But only one of the sisters will succeed. With an enthusiasm for history and a flair for rich detail, Indu Sundaresan brings readers deep into the complicated lives of Indian women of the time period and highlights the profound history of one of the most celebrated works of architecture in the world, the Taj Mahal.
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Reading Group Guide
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 see more