WRITING STYLE: 4.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
Close your eyes and think about these two words – monument and eternal love. If you are somebody from India (though I believe it will be true for most people around the world too), I am sure that the first thing which comes to your mind is Taj Mahal. And why not? It is a monument epitomizing undying love. It is because of Taj Mahal that even today people talk in awe of the immortal love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. But what if I tell you that there is another love story as true and as timeless as that of Shahjahan and Mumtaz? I am sure you are intrigued now. So without wasting time, let me illuminate you.
Songs of Stone is a book which will take you to the world of the Nilofer and Jagat, and will bring to life the 17th century Mughal India. Sujata Sabnis, in this beautiful piece of historical fiction tells you about a story which will melt your heart and maybe even compel you to shed a tear or two (Well, it brought me to tears!). Set in the 17th century Mughal India; in a time when the eternal Taj Mahal was being conceived and completed, this story is yet another masterpiece in the world of romantic historical fiction.
Nilofer is a young teenager living in a small town in Khandwa when she is kidnapped and forcibly brought to the harem of Jahangir. Taken away from her childhood sweetheart Jagat, she is living a life of hell. The ruthless conniving and decadent life of the harem cast a murky shadow on her life. Her only hope is Jagat, who she believes will leave no stone unturned to rescue her out of this horrible life of debauchery and wantonness. But is she right in her assumption? Will Jagat succeed in freeing her? Or does fate has something else in store for them? To know this and much more about this one-of-a-kind story, read this fascinating novel today!
The fact that the story is set in such an important and interesting period of the Indian history makes it a very desirable read. The setting is beautifully complimented by a very strong plot and storyline. The harem angle also makes it for a seductive and enthralling read (after all, I am sure anybody and everybody who is a fan of history would like to know about the workings and culture of a Mughal harem). I loved the characters; Nilofer and Jagat make a wonderfully fascinating couple. I also liked the other important characters of Zohra, Bahar, Behroze, Zeenat, Abida Begum, Ratan, Lisa etc. Zohra and Behroze stood out really well and were very convincing in their roles.
The story is not a historical thriller (though it has a few elements which do thrill the reader), it is more of a historical romance fiction. Readers of romance fiction and historical fiction will equally enjoy this read. The pace of the story is a little clumsy. It is really fast in the beginning, rather slow in the middle and again faster towards the end. In the end, the climax does not thrill you, it rather saddens you (in fact, it blatantly made me cry) but what the reader gets is a feeling of having read a great and a truly satisfying fiction. This is a book which even long after you have finished reading it, will make you relive it again and again.
Quite evidently my rating of the book is a four and a half out of five stars and I strongly recommend it as a must read to all my readers. As an end note, I sincerely pray to God that he sends more such compelling books my way; a prayer which I am sure most book reviewers often say.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy from the links below!