Beneath a Marble Sky

Beneath a Marble Sky

by John Shors


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Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors

Journey to dazzling seventeenth-century Hindustan, where the reigning emperor, consumed with grief over the tragic death of his beloved wife, commissioned the building of a grand mausoleum as a testament to the marvel of their love. This monument would soon become known as the Taj Mahal—a sight famous around the world for its beauty and the emotions it symbolizes.

Princess Jahanara, the courageous daughter of the emperor and his wife, recounts their mesmerizing tale, while sharing her own parallel story of forbidden love with the celebrated architect of the Taj Mahal. Set during a time of unimaginable wealth and power, murderous sibling rivalries, and cruel despotism, this impressive novel sweeps you away to a historical Hindustan brimming with action and intrigue in an era when, alongside the brutalities of war and oppression, architecture and the art of love and passion reached a pinnacle of perfection.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780929701974
Publisher: McPherson & Company
Publication date: 05/28/2013
Pages: 332
Sales rank: 108,699
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

John Shors traveled extensively throughout Asia after graduating from Colorado College in 1991, living for several years in Japan, where he taught English, and then trekking across the continent, visiting ten countries and climbing the Himalayas. More recently, Mr. Shors worked as a newspaper reporter in his hometown, Des Moines, Iowa, before entering public relations and moving to Boulder, Colorado. Beneath a Marble Sky is his first novel.


Boulder, Colorado

Date of Birth:

March 4, 1969

Place of Birth:

Des Moines, Iowa


B.A. in English, Colorado College, 1991

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“[A] spirited debut novel ...With infectious enthusiasm and just enough careful attention to detail, Shors gives a real sense of the times, bringing the world of imperial Hindustan and its royal inhabitants to vivid life.”—Publishers Weekly

“Jahanara is a beguiling heroine whom readers will come to love; none of today’s chick-lit heroines can match her dignity, fortitude and cunning…Elegant, often lyrical, writing distinguishes this literary fiction from the genre known as historical romance. It is truly a work of art, rare in a debut novel.”—The Des Moines Register

“An exceptional work of fiction...A gripping account.”—India Post

Beneath a Marble Sky is a passionate, lush, and dramatic novel, rich with a sense of place. John Shors is an author of sweeping imaginative force.”—Sandra Gulland, author of The Josephine B. Trilogy

“[A] story of romance and passion…A wonderful book if you want to escape to a foreign land while relaxing in your porch swing.”—St. Petersburg Times

Customer Reviews

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Beneath a Marble Sky 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 79 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha and Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring, I have been on a constant search for a romantic historical novel written with depth, poetic language, a female protagonist, and an antropologic view of a foreign society. This epic novel exceeds expectations in all of the categories - when I finished it, I felt as if the character development was flawless, non-cliche and I learned [although this is not a textbook in any way] a lot about 1600's Indian society. This book is outstanding. STRONGLY recommended.
ksvl More than 1 year ago
I read this amazing book recently and have to say it is among the top books I have read. I truly felt I was on this wonderful journey with the characters and saw the Taj Mahal being built. It was such a great love story between Jahanara, the youngest daughter of Sha Jahan and Isa, the architect of the Taj Mahal and the visuals laid out in the book were remarkable. I did not want the book to end because I wanted to read more about the Taj Mahal. If there was anything missing for me it was that there weren't pictures in the book showing the beauty of this part of Hindustan and the Taj Mahal. I sent an email to the author, John Shors after reading this book to tell him how much I enjoyed reading it and I was pleasantly surprised to receive a response to my email. He was gracious and thanked me for letting him know how much I enjoyed his book. I have definitely recommended this to my friends.
Tigerkitty More than 1 year ago
This is a believable story of forbidden romance. John Shors includes everything in this book: romance, danger, sadness, happiness, suspense, and intrigue. The plot flows well and spans over decades. It tells a tale of the forbidden love between the architect of the Taj Mahal and a princess of India. I loved the attention to detail and the beautiful imagery painted by Shors' words. The events in the story are not over the top, but are believable. "Beneath a Marble Sky" is a page turner and I could not put the book down. Parts of the book are more adult oriented in nature, but even those parts are tastefully written. Overall, I loved this book and would highly recommend reading it to anyone who loves historical, romantic, thrilling, suspenseful, and believable novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a story about true love, ones duty, perseverance, and more. It is so engrossing I couldn't put it down. I have given it as a gift to several friends, all of whom loved it. It will stay on my bookshelf forever - It's one I could re-read and not tire of it. So compelling!
Paloma More than 1 year ago
I could not! put this fantastic novel down for three days. It found me at a local used bookstore (sorry B&N!), and I was captivated from the first sentence. Shors graces us with not only a beautiful story, beautiful scenery, and beautiful characters, but also with strong women. Each charter lives her/his own life, making decisions that lead them down paths that they were meant to travel. It is historical fiction, and Shors points out that he is making that artistic leap of faith in several regards. It works because Shors connects the reality of the Taj Mahal, in all its splendor and all its incredible building materials and manpower, to its designer and women of inspiration, to the human condition. Yes, the human condition. Historical fiction does not work if the characters are not sufficiently credible to appear real throughout every page of the book. I laughed. I cried. This book made my impossible to make bookshelf. It is a keeper, it will be reread. Bravo Mr. Shors!
snowbird922 More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written Shors captures us with Jahanara's sense of duty and love for her family. I was actually surprised at how perceptive he was to the female's point of view on how far a woman would go to protect and honor those she loves. This book although fiction hit home for me on many of my own beliefs and I enjoyed immensely going through the motions as Jahanara was faced with her most difficult decisions. I think this is the perfect book for a readers club.
GadgetgirlKS More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to my friends and family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this novel in the span of a day. I just couldn't put it down! At times, you will cry, others, you will laugh, and sometimes even cringe at the hardships the characters must overcome to find peace in the end. I must say that Aurangzeb truly frightened me, and that the vivid painting of the Taj Mahal brought it before my eyes in all of its splendor, as if I was witnessing its birth. Wonderful book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It is a quick read and a nice story. It reminded me of the Red Tent, which I loved.
bookhog More than 1 year ago
The heroine is strong and determined in the face of old traditions and loyalty to family. A look into a world of brutality and deep emotions, betrayal, friendship and love.
suzyd More than 1 year ago
I was swept away by the story and could not put the book down once I got into it. Truly amazing how the male author captured the feelings and thoughts of a young female narrator. He is to be commended not only for the beautiful story but also for making us forget that the author is a man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book by the reviews and they lived up to their description. This book was wonderful. The characters caught my attention right away, as did the story. It was the first time I read anything about this time frame so I am not judging the history. It was great to find a new author, I look forward to reading his next book.
Moni_kay More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I fell in love with the characters and the story right away. The author did a great job recreating the times, not that I knew exactly how things were, but he made it very believable. His extensive research on the subject shows and even though I recognize that the story is considered fiction, it made the The Taj Mahal that much more real and beautiful to me. There is a lot of tragedy in this book, however, it is still very much a story about love, hope, and a sense of duty for the common good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not have enjoyed this book any more. It is an amazing story--one that made me laugh and cry, and one that I will always remember. This fine novel was recommended to me by several friends, and I can see why. It is simply fanastic. If you're interested in the beautiful story behind the Taj Mahal, or just wonderful writing, this book is for you. Beneath a Marble Sky is the best book that I read in 2007. No doubt about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would definitely read more by this author. This book is a great choice for book club discussions.
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em_j More than 1 year ago
I recommend this if you enjoy reading books of different cultures. I felt I was there at the time the Taj Majal was built. Very romantic.
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