Jahanara: Princess of Princesses by Kathryn Lasky

(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

December 1, 1627

My father has four wives, but I am the daughter of the one he loves most, Arjumand Banu Geum.  I, too, am a Begum, a princess.  My name is Jahanara, great-granddaughter of Akbar, the greatest Moghul ruler of India…

I have diamonds the size of my small toe, and rubies the size of beetles, and I have thirty servants and eight elephants trained specifically for me.  I have everything except freedom.  We are all of us imprisoned: my mother, my father, my younger brothers, and my younger sister.  In tents hung with gold cloth, we drink from emerald-studded chalices and yet we are prisoners.

This was my first introduction to the splendor that was India and I have to say it was great!  Kathryn Lasky obviously did her research and included many little details that tween readers will love, however I cannot and will not comment on the accuracy of Jahanara: Princess of Princesses.  Unlike with ancient Egypt and ancient Rome, I know next to nothing about India and I’m certainly not about to pretend I do.

Jahanara herself is a very good character that many readers will look up to.  She believes that women in India have no power, but eventually she is taught that she was wrong.  She has family troubles, like many people do and worries constantly about the radical religious streak she sees in her older brother.

Political intrigue, romance, war and death make Jahanara: Princess of Princesses a bit more mature than many of the other books in The Royal Diaries, so I would recommend it for older tweens and young teens.  However, there really isn’t all that much to worry about because the violence isn’t explicit and there is no sex (obviously).

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

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