Skip to main content

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Portrait of an Unknown Woman

1. Could Meg Giggs be considered a "modern woman"? Why or why not?

2. Is it possible to fully understand the conflicts of an earlier age? What does it mean to learn from history?

3. Fathers and daughters—discuss this relationship and its manifestations in the novel. Has Meg and More's relationship changed by the end?

4. What role does religion play in the novel?

5. Is there a "female" and a "male" side of medicine? Is there a difference between nursing and care given by physicians?

6. Holbein was one of the first painters to "see God in the human face" and paint works without religious subjects. Did art gain or lose by being decoupled from religious worship in the 16th century?

7. Does the smaller size of most families today, as opposed to the larger family structures of the 16th century, mean there's less strife and sibling rivalry? Why or why not?

8. Can you lead an honest life if you're harboring a secret?

9. Do you agree or disagree with Meg's choices in the novel?

10. Does More deserve his fate?

Portrait of an Unknown Woman
by Vanora Bennett

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2008
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0061252565
  • ISBN-13: 9780061252563