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Portrait of an Unknown Woman: A Novel
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Portrait of an Unknown Woman: A Novel

4.0 42
by Vanora Bennett
 

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In the year 1527, the great portraitist Hans Holbein, fleeing the Protestant Reformation, comes to England under commission to Sir Thomas More. Over the course of the next six years, Holbein paints two nearly identical portraits of the More family, his dear and loyal friends. But closer examination of the second painting reveals several mysteries. . . .

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Portrait of an Unknown Woman 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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..
kiminindy More than 1 year ago
my daughter gave this to me for my birthday. at first it as very slow. i didn't want to offend her so i plodded along. after awhile it really drew me in and became very interesting. it even enticed me to hunt down the holbein's at the national gallery of art recently.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very enjoyable read. The writing was fluid and the story held my attention. While the story line/plot of one of the main characters is a bit far fetched in terms of historical accuracy, the descriptions of homes, cities, life, and events in 16th century England allow a history lover like myself to easily enjoy this book. The author is also careful to write in a side note what is actually true, and what is fiction in the story. A nice read for a European history lover! A perfect historical fiction read!
StacieRosePittard More than 1 year ago
Portrait of an Unknown Woman was an alright read. The story took place at an interesting point in history, however, I felt that the author dropped the ball when it came to using that history to create an interesting story. I grew quite bored with the bland love triangles Vanora Bennett described in this novel, and felt myself waiting for her to elaborate on the conflicts of the time period. She did a wonderful job of introducing those conflicts, but by the end of the book I felt dissatisfied. I wanted to know more about the history and how it effected the people in the story. It was especially irritating to read about the outcomes of the characters in the notes at the end of the book. Some of them had an interesting outcome, but she didn't bother including that in the narrative.
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emilyfan76 More than 1 year ago
The book was ok. I didn't find the plot to be all the believable though.
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miss_dobie More than 1 year ago
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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