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Paperback: A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time, by Diana & Michael Preston

Although billed as a history of the Taj Mahal, the Prestons' richly patterned chintz of a book also delivers a romantic account of the Mughal empire as a whole. It treats the moment in the 1630s when the grief-stricken Shah Jahan built the marble tomb of his beloved wife, Mumtaz, as a pivot for the story of their love, their dynasty, and its spectacular rise and fall. Edward Lear thought it "simply silly" to describe the Taj, this "wonderfully lovely place". The Prestons – though sometimes prone to lush hyperbole – succeed far better than most.