Author(s): Mavis Cheek
Flora Chapman is in her fifties when her dashing and infuriating husband, Edward, dies in a bizarre ballooning accident. Ever pragmatic, Flora seizes upon her new freedom and decides to finish Edward's history of Hurcott Ducis, the village where they've spent their married life. A reference to Anna of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife, unkindly called 'The Flanders Mare', captures Flora's attention and later her affection as she sets about her own research in the hope of elevating Anna's place in history. Meanwhile, in the Louvre, Holbein's portrait of Anna senses the tug of a connection and she begins to tell the real story of how she survived her disastrous Tudor marriage. This novel about two intelligent, accomplished women who lived in the shadow of the men they married, interweaves a fascinating and little-known part of history with a broader contemporary tale of love, marriage, self-preservation and motherhood with all their pains, pleasures and humour.