Customer Reviews for

Portrait of an Unknown Woman: A Novel

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

More than a story....

I thorougly enjoyed this book...it took a few pages to get into it, but once past those few pages, I couldn't put the book down. I read a great deal of historical fiction from this time period and what I appreciated and enjoyed about this book is it was not about "Cour...
I thorougly enjoyed this book...it took a few pages to get into it, but once past those few pages, I couldn't put the book down. I read a great deal of historical fiction from this time period and what I appreciated and enjoyed about this book is it was not about "Court life" during Henry VIII's reign....but the effects that the intrigue of the Court life and the regligious upheaval within the Court had on everyone from the players of the Court itself down to the most poor - between Henry VIII's constant battle with the Pope and Martin Luther's Reformation, it was a pretty tumulteous time period and the book brought all those fears to life for us. In reading this book, I got a better understanding of the undercurrent felt by all during Reformation. No side is without blame regarding the horrific events that happened (don't forget, Bloody Mary was up after Henry). It was well written and although a few liberties were taken with a couple of events - since its a mystery regarding the one particular event - no harm, no foul and made the book an even better read (won't say what it is - you have to read it yourself!) Great book - great read..

posted by janalee1951 on August 30, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Another portrait of an interesting lady

I love the concept of an imagined biography of a lady in a portrait, though this one didn't create a new world in my mind as the "Girl in the Pearl Earring" did. I am a historian, though only marginally of this period of English history, and I didn't find this as offen...
I love the concept of an imagined biography of a lady in a portrait, though this one didn't create a new world in my mind as the "Girl in the Pearl Earring" did. I am a historian, though only marginally of this period of English history, and I didn't find this as offensively anachronistic as many novels set in this period of fine costumes. I liked the portrait of Holbein very much. Not a great book, but a good read. But we needed to have copies of the key pictures provided!

posted by 325063 on March 30, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    More than a story....

    I thorougly enjoyed this book...it took a few pages to get into it, but once past those few pages, I couldn't put the book down. I read a great deal of historical fiction from this time period and what I appreciated and enjoyed about this book is it was not about "Court life" during Henry VIII's reign....but the effects that the intrigue of the Court life and the regligious upheaval within the Court had on everyone from the players of the Court itself down to the most poor - between Henry VIII's constant battle with the Pope and Martin Luther's Reformation, it was a pretty tumulteous time period and the book brought all those fears to life for us. In reading this book, I got a better understanding of the undercurrent felt by all during Reformation. No side is without blame regarding the horrific events that happened (don't forget, Bloody Mary was up after Henry). It was well written and although a few liberties were taken with a couple of events - since its a mystery regarding the one particular event - no harm, no foul and made the book an even better read (won't say what it is - you have to read it yourself!) Great book - great read..

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Very interesting reading experience

    Henry VIII is increasingly shutting down religious freedom at a time when Catholicism is under siege from an assortment of heresies. Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More becomes the defender of the faith.----------------- Observing the battle of religions is More¿s intelligent ward Meg Giggs. As renowned artist Hans Holbein paints a portrait of More and his family, Meg sees her former tutor John Clement, whom she not only loves but shares a common interest in healing. John wants to wed Meg, but Sir Thomas has doubts until the young doctor is appointed to the College of Physicians. However before they can exchange their vows, John reveals that he is Richard Plantagenet, one of the two princes allegedly killed by the late former monarch Richard III. They marry and have a child, but as he moves apart from her emotionally, she turns to Holbein who is working on another More family portrait five years after he completed the first commission while her sister seductively flirts with the men in her life.------------------ This is a well written historical drama of an often told story of the battle between King Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More, but Vanora Bennett freshens the saga by using an a first hand witness of the entanglement. The story line is fast-paced except at those moments when the politicians debate religious freedom as those passages are much deeper and cerebral. Mel is a fabulous intelligent protagonist who, in spite of the great men of history who the focus is indirectly on, serves as the center of the exciting story line. Fans of sixteenth century character driven tales will appreciate this insightful look at an early skirmish in the war for religious freedom.----------- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Highly Recommended

    A magnificent story about Thomas More and his family from the viewpoint of one of his daughters. This book gives you a whole different perspective on the man and involves you with his entire family. It's absolutely great and well worth the time to read. A must-read for lovers of Tudor England as it rounds things out nicely.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

    What a great read!

    I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I really enjoy historical fiction, and this was a great example. It's topic is one I haven't read about before, and it definitely made me want to know more about the real people behind the characters. A very well written, enjoyable account.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2007

    absolutely fabulous

    Has a plot twist I did NOT see coming! A must read for Tudor history buffs!

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    Posted February 28, 2011

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