Portrait of an unknown woman by Vanora Bennett

portraitVanora Bennett is has done what I thought impossible – she has managed to produce a historical novel set in the court of Henry VIII from a different angle and with multiple plot twists that I certainly didn’t see coming. I won’t give away these developments as I would strongly  recommend any fan of historical fiction to read this book.

Centered round the character of Margaret Greggs, ward of Sir Thomas More; the traditional main events of Henry VII’s reign are explored from her experiences. The title of the book comes from one of the other main protagonists – Hans Holbein. The court painter is for the first time given a full character and role in a Tudor court of which he recorded so many details.

The epidemics of The Sweat and the destruction of the Reformation are played out in vivid detail and from a more personal perspective that I have hitherto seen.

Vanora Bennett has an endearing and lively style of writing which makes this book a great page turner even to those who are connoisseurs of the genre in this period.

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