Perfect for fans of `Girl with a Pearl Earring', this is a remarkable love story with a background of religious and political turmoil in Tudor England.
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, proteges 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.
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
'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
`There is much to admire in this curate's egg of a novel.' Sunday Telegraph
'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.'
'An atmospheric, passionate novel set against a backdrop of religious and political upheaval.' Woman and Home
Vanora Bennett is a journalist and writer. She lived and worked in Russia for 7 years, writing for Reuters and the LA Times. She has been a foreign correspondent and feature writer and contributed to publications including The Times, the LA Times, the Guardian, the Observer and the Evening Standard. She lives in London with her husband and two sons. She has written two previous novels: Portrait of an Unknown Woman and Queen of Silks. Her latest novel, Blood Royal comes out in May 2009.