Portrait of An Unknown Woman

Portrait of An Unknown Woman

eBook - 2007
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The Set against the turmoil, intrigue and, tragedy of Henry VIII's court, Portrait of an Unknown Woman vividly evokes sixteenth-century England on the verge of enormous change. As the Protestant Reformation sweeps across Europe to lap at England's shores, relations between her king and the Catholic Church begin to plummet-driven by Henry VIII's insatiable need for a male heir and the urgings of his cunning mistress Anne Boleyn-and heresy begins to take hold. As tensions rise, Henry VIII turns to his most trusted servant and defender of Catholic orthodoxy, Sir Thomas More to keep peace in England, but soon the entire More family find their own lives at risk. The year is 1527. Meg Gigg's, Sir Thomas More's twenty-three year old adopted daughter is intelligent, headstrong, and tender-hearted. Meg has been schooled in the healing arts. And though she is devoted to her family, events conspire that will cause Meg to question everything she thought she knew-including the desires of her own heart. As the danger to More and his family increases, two men will vie for Meg's affections: John Clement, her former tutor and More's protégé who shares Meg's passion for medicine, but whose true identity will become unclear. The great portraitist Hans Holbein, who has fled the reformation in Europe, is making his first trip to England under commission to Sir Thomas More. In the course of six years, Holbein becomes a close friend to the More family and paints two nearly identical family portraits. But closer examination of the paintings reveals that the second holds several mysteries ... The great artistic vision of Holbein will forever alter Meg's understanding of the world.
Publisher: Pymble, NSW ; New York : HarperCollins e-books, 2007
ISBN: 9780061370694 (electronic bk. : Adobe Reader)
006137069X (electronic bk. : Adobe Reader)
Branch Call Number: eBOOK FIC BENNETT


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Jan 09, 2014

**** stars This very well written book is set during the reign of King Henry VIII and told from the point of view of a ward of Thomas More named Meg. This is the time when Lutherans and other Protestant adherents could be tortured or burned at the stake for their beliefs. Meanwhile King Henry VIII wants to remove the rule of the Pope in England so that he can have his legal marriage annulled and marry Anne Boleyn. Into this mix arrives Hans Holbein. The narrative focuses on two paintings, a portrait of the More family and one of two French Ambassadors. Eventually Thomas More becomes Lord Chancellor for Henry. We also encounter a possible explanation for the disappearance of the two princes locked in the Tower of London by King Richard III. Meg becomes the strongest voice for tolerance and finds it particularly difficult when Thomas More must act against the protestants as the King's Chancellor. The art history is fascinating as the author interprets hidden symbols and artifacts in the paintings of Holbein. I had to look up the two paintings to see the images directly. I think the author did a great job of telling a very readable story of the complexity of the religion, art, and politics of the era. I think Thomas More is "forgiven" a little too easily for this own cruel acts, but other than that, I found this to be a terrific book. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Mar 18, 2011

I enjoyed this historical fiction, especially as I had not read much about Hans Holbein the artist. It also takes a new and interesting view about the Princes in the Tower which surprised me. This author is worth checking out for historical fiction fans who like real characters woven into the storyline.

Lorna Sep 19, 2008

The best historical fiction I have read in a long time. The plot twists are fabulous if you know the Tudor period.


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Dec 30, 2010

Meg Giggs is adopted daughter of Sir Thomas More. She is well treated but not given the love his natural children are. She develops friendship with tutor John Clement. He goes away to study and when he returns Meg is 23 and they profess their love for each other. Clement tells her More has refused her hand in marriage more than once. Meg has misgivings about More's actions against heretics. This is the time of M. Luther reformation in mainland Europe, also the time Henry 8 is wanting to divorce first wife and marry Anne Boleyn.


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