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Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett
  

Portrait of an Unknown Woman

Literary Fiction   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   

RRP £15.00

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Longlisted for the 2007 Romantic Novel of the Year Award. I'm no expert in art, but that had no bearing whatsoever on my enjoyment of this novel. It's enchanting. The author manages to transport you back in time and completely immerses you in this fascinating story. If you liked Girl With a Pearl Earring, you'll love this.

If you like Vanora Bennett you might also like to read books by Philippa Gregory, Sarah Dunant and Tracy Chevalier.

Synopsis

Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett

The year is 1526. Hans Holbein the Younger is at the beginning of his remarkable career when he travels to England under the patronage of Sir Thomas More. His arrival brings the Renaissance in painting from Europe to Britain. As a guest in the splendid More household in Chelsea, Holbein begins to paint their first family portrait. Little could he know that in a few short years, the family, Tudor society and England itself would have changed beyond recognition.

The great household of the courtier and scholar, Sir Thomas More, was famous for its liveliness and learning. More had taken under his patronage distinguished astrologers, artists, politicians and men of religion, as well as wards of court, protégés and many others. Two people visiting the great house find themselves irresistibly drawn to Meg Giggs, one of More's foster daughters. One of them is John Clement - dark, tall, elegant - an erstwhile tutor, now practising to become a medical doctor; a man of compelling presence and mysterious background. The other is Holbein himself - warm, ebullient, radical and foreign - sent by the great Erasmus to paint the More family portraits. Meg will find herself powerfully drawn to these two wildly contrasting men. She will love one, and marry the other.

The two Holbein family portraits frame this remarkable story with its background of love, family, and of religious and political turmoil. Vanora Bennett has created an exceptionally rich novel, presenting the atmosphere of this Tudor household as rarely achieved.

Reviews

Praise for 'Portrait of an Unknown Woman': 'Bennett's background detail is impeccable -- part love story, part thriller, all excellently imagined and written.
The Times

'Bennett has a fine grasp of historical detail and a light style'. The Observer 'There is plenty to admire and enjoy in Bennett's portrayal of a society convulsed by radical change!Vanora Bennett is a writer to watch.'
Times Literary Supplement

'Distinguished!Romance, intrigue and art history are confidently blended, and Holbein canvases are afforded starring roles.'
Daily Mail

'If you want a classier-than-average romantic read, one contender is this fine historiccal debut, a 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'-style tale.'
Sunday Times

'An atmospheric, passionate novel set against a backdrop of religious and political upheaval.'
Woman and Home More praise for

'Portrait of an Unknown Woman': 'Fans of Tracy Chevalier and Philippa Gregory will lap up this meticulously researched historical tale!A brilliant study of passion, politics, religion and art.'
Eve magazine

'Fans of Girl with a Pearl Earring will greet this with open arms: it's a similarly intriguing, clever web of art, passion and historical characters!atmospheric and alive with philosophy and treachery -- exhilarating.'
Easy Living

'Rich in period detail, full of human passion, 'Portrait of an Unknown Woman'
mingles art, politics and family drama to evoke the period when humanism was taking root in England. A fascinating tale, skilfully told and highly recommended

.
Iain Pears, author of

'The Portrait' 'An enjoyable read.'
Guardian

'If only history was taught by people like Vanora Bennett!I loved this book.'
Penny Smith, First magazine

'This is a remarkable love story with a background of religious and political turnoil in Tudor England'. New Books Magazine 'An absolute must-read'
Historical Novels Review

About the Author

Vanora Bennett was born and brought up in London. She is a writer and a freelance journalist. She lives in North London with her husband and two children.

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd October 2006

Author

Vanora Bennett

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Author's Website

vanorabennett.com/

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Publisher

Harpercollins Publishers

Format

Hardback
528 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction

ISBN

9780007224920

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