Most people who read my reviews here know that I absolutely loveee Indu Sundaresan’s work. She has such an authority on historic fiction that I think very few people can match up to! Shadow princess is her third book in the Taj Trilogy, after Twentieth Wife and Feast of Roses.
Shadow Princess begins with Mumtaz Mahal struggling to stay in this world, while delivering her 14th child. She passes on, leaving her husband Shah Jahan devastated. He loses interest in everything, including the throne that he had once placed above his own kith and kin. The responsibility of the matters of court, her siblings and her father too, falls on the young shoulders of Mumtaz’s 17-years old daughter, Jahanara.
The book traces Jahanara’s life as the strongest woman in the imperial harem, the most favourite daughter of ShahJahan and how she is caught between managing it all, while sacrificing her own desires.
It’s surprising how you can fall in love with someone like ShahJahan, whom you would have hated like anything in the previous book, because the bond between the father and the daughter is soooo beautifully portrayed. And I think, only Indu Sundaresan can do it. Her description of a simple Sehra tied on the groom’s head or the stage-by-stage depiction of the construction of Taj Mahal, leaves you spell-bound. You almost feel like she was right there watching it happen, or even better, that you were right there witnessing the whole thing! Simply amazing!
And just reading the inspiring lives of such women of substance leaves you with a contented smile on your face 😀 The way she intersperses romance with so much political melodrama is impressive too. Putting it in just a few words, go get the book people 😉