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Portrait of an Unknown Woman

by Vanora Bennett

Debut Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Historical Fiction Reading Group Recommendations

LoveReading View on Portrait of an Unknown Woman

1587 and the painter Holbein makes his first visit to England under the patronage of Sir Thomas More.  He falls for More’s foster daughter, Meg Giggs, who in turn is greatly enamoured by the tutor, now trainee doctor, John Clement.  This is wonderful Tudor household stuff, good on detail, the political tensions of the period and thwarted love, so part love story, part thriller, a great read.

Comparison: Philippa Gregory, Tracy Chevalier, Sarah Dunant.

Sarah Broadhurst

Portrait of an Unknown Woman Synopsis

The year is 1527. Hans Holbein makes his first visit to England, sent by the great Erasmus to paint Thomas More, courtier, scholar, patron, and his family. More's splendid house on the river in Chelsea is at the centre of Tudor society, frequented by distinguished astronomers, artists, politicians and men of religion, as well as wards of court, protégés and many others.

Two visitors to the great house find themselves irresistibly drawn to Meg Giggs, one of More's foster daughters. John Clement - dark, tall, elegant - studying to be a doctor, is a man of compelling presence and mysterious background. The other man is Holbein himself - warm, ebullient, radical and a painter of great renown. Meg finds herself powerfully drawn to these two wildly contrasting men. She will love one, and marry the other.

A wonderful, rich novel, presenting the atmosphere of this Tudor household as rarely achieved, with an astounding ability to present to us the world of Holbein's paintings as well as a gallery of vividly realised characters.

Portrait of an Unknown Woman Press Reviews

'Bennett's background detail is impeccable - part love story, part thriller, all excellently imagined and written.' The Times

'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

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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780007224937
Publication date: 04/06/2007
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Format: Paperback (b Format)

ISBN: 9780007224920
Publication date: 02/10/2006
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780007224937
Publication date: 4th June 2007
Author: Vanora Bennett
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Format: Paperback (b Format)
Pagination: 400 pages
Genres: Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Reading Groups,
Categories: Historical romance,

About Vanora Bennett

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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