Book Review: The Shadow Princess By Indu Sunderesan
Indu Sundaresan’s latest book “The Shadow Princess” is now out in bookstores. Those familiar with her writing know that Indu has a passion for writing about Mughal India, especially the women of power in Mughal India. Her earlier works “Twentieth Wife” and “Feast of Roses”, in this genre, brought her wide acclaim and now with “Shadow Princess” she has secured a permanent position for herself as an expert in the field. While the first two books showed us the power a woman could yield as an Empress, even from behind the veil, Shadow Princess, is even more intriguing because it is all about the power that a mere princess, not an Empress, can yield.
The heroine Jahanara is but a mere shadow of her mother, the beautiful Empress on whose memory the Taj Mahal was built. She is always behind, never in front, of the Emperor Shah Jahan, yet her sphere of influence spreads from domestic matters to key strategic decisions the Emperor takes. Jahanara remains behind the veil, unseen and unheard except by her immediate family and slaves, yet plays the kingdom like a game of chess. Behind the delicate features of her beautiful face and slender body lies a resolve of stone.
Indu spins in a tale of love – forbidden yet strong; ambition – strong enough to kill one’s own siblings; envy – that leads to deceit and betrayal; all within the Emperor’s own family. The result is a story that is gripping and filled with suspense yet somehow manages to teach Mughal history! To find out how Jahanara manages to wield so much power and more importantly how she uses that power to influence the path of history, you have to read the book for yourself!