When a twist of fate delivers an ambitious young medical student to the court of King Charles II, he is suddenly thrust into a vibrant world of luxury and opulence.
Blessed with a quick wit and sparkling charm, Robert Merivel rises quickly, soon finding favour with the King, and privileged with a position as 'paper groom' to the youngest of the King's mistresses. But by falling in love with her, Merivel transgresses the one rule that will cast him out from his new-found paradise. Determined to be restored to the King's grace, Merivel begins a journey of self-knowledge and soon discovers that the King's pleasure is equally matched by his wrath.... Rose Tremain's novels have won many prizes including: the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music and Silence); the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger (Sacred Country); the Sunday Express Book of the Year, the Angel Literary Award and shortlisted for the Booker Prize (Restoration) and a Giles Cooper Award (for her radio play, Temporary Shelter). Her novel The Colour, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and selected for the Daily Mail Reading Club promotion. In June 2007 Rose was made a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours..
©1989 Rose Tremain (P)2014 Audible Studios
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"Two thirds dazzling one third excellent"
The character of Merivel bursts out of the opening pages and I was immediately beguiled by his roller coaster account of his life and fortunes. Merivel may be treated as a fool by the King's court but he is not stupid. He is just inclined to follow his own devil may care instincts and as a result gets involved in all manner of scrapes. This book focuses on his relationship with King Charles II and the massive impact this has on his life. The best parts however are his interactions with his best but disapproving friend Pearce, and the ordinary but vividly colourful characters that light up this book.
There are some massively funny sections, for example his frustrations at not being able to paint his Russians or play a musical instrument and his hilarious and exasperated interchanges with the people who try to teach him. There are also some very touching elements and Merivel's words and actions show him on occasion as being a likeable, vulnerable and humane man. You must however not be disillusioned into thinking Merivel is in any way saintly.
Paul Daneman gives many theatrical flourishes to his reading and his fearless approach adds to the comedy and pathos. I have had a recent run of very dull books that have driven me to the point of bored despair but this has restored my faith. This story and presentation is a breath of fresh and extremely invigorating air.
I can't remember why I bought this - maybe it was a special offer. Anyway, I didn't know what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised. The narration was excellent, and really made the protagonist come to life. I suspect I would not have liked it so much on the page.
I really enjoyed this and was sorry when it finished.
"Excellent book in every way"
Unusual historical novel
Merivel a real character. A very different sort of hero.
Very well read.
Rose Tremain is an excellent author. I have only just discovered her and now making up for lost time.
"A favourite! A timeless main character"
The character of Robert Merivel is engaging, infuriating, hilarious and at times shocking. His excesses and tribulations are entertaining and his search for meaning in his life are well perceived and narrated by Tremain.
A book to relish - beautifully written and never predictable.
I have read many of Rose Tremain's books and this must be her best.
I enjoyed this hugely. A wonderful story, full of humour as well as drama, great characters and setting. Also, beautifully read. Found myself totally immersed in it. Highly recommended.
"Very interesting story"
I love Rose Tremain and thought this story was very good but I did find the narration a little hard to engage with at times - I wasn't a big fan of the actor changing voices for different characters as he invariably gave them rather irritating ones. But overall very enjoyable.
"A ramble to no where."
Why would a respected author like Rose Tremain dedicate two books to a buffoon and a loser? 'Restoration' slides in a downward spiral, and we have no reason to pity the ill fated protagonist. Then, in the second book in the series, 'Merivel', the main character continues to wallow even further through misery as the clueless king's ex-fool. I must also be the fool for even attempting part two. Thankfully Audible allowed me to return the book.
I will return to more elevating and exciting historical fiction. I've read most of Ken Follett's. I get confused with Hilary Mantel. There is lots to explore in Cornwell and Scarrow. There is always CJ Sanson's hunchback. Roy Clements is stuck in the 15th and 16th centuries. I think we are all bored with Philippa Gregory's delving between the Tutor sheets. Maybe I am ready for the highly educated tales of Simon Scarrow.
This man is the only reason I have suffered as much as I have through this miserable book. Mr Daneman is a brilliant actor and a master of accents, voices and inflections.
Yes -- ask Audible to receive the book returned unfinished. I will find my historical fiction with another author.
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