Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett
Genre: Historical Fiction, 16th century
Pages: 413 (paperback)
He turned to me. His face inscrutable. "Thank You," he said quietly. "You've set me free. If I have no duty to king or family, I can follow my own heart at last." And then he was gone, into the dusk in the street, leaving me alone in the parlor with the husband whose secret I'd betrayed.
The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff
Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII settingPages: 393 (paperback)
Urged by the resistance to use her position with Kommandant Richwalker, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant, to acccess details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety--and her marriage vows--in order to help Jacob's' cause.
My Rating for Both:
My Review:Both books are historical fiction but both have completely different time periods. Portrait of an Unknown Woman is about Thomas More's family, specifically Meg Gibbitt--one of More's foster daughters--and the two men who are infatuated with her. The book is beautifully written with just the right amount of detail. If you enjoy reading about the 16th century England during Henry VIII's reign. It is difficult to tell what is fiction and what is history but I love that about this book. The novel ends before More's beheading (he was beheaded on Henry VIII's orders for refusing to condone the King's divorce and marriage to Anne Boleyn. The characters are the best part of this novel. They have been beautifully drawn and have a depth that I can't help but admire. The relationships (and drama) make the book so hard to put down.
The Kommandant's Girl is set during WWII (by now everyone knows how much I love these books). I really really love Pam Jenoff. This book is all about drama. I have no idea what I would do if I was in Emma's situation but it seems like a real life soap opera. Emma Bau is newly married to Jacob when Jacob is forced to disappear because of the war. She attempts to help Jacob and the resistance by getting close to the Kommandant and gaining information, but it doesn't turn out the way she expects. The characters are very believable and easy to like. The ending surprised me quite a bit.
What do you think? Would you be interested in one or both of these books? I admit, I liked them book because of the tangle of relationships.