Top positive review
One person found this helpful
An Absolute Joy to Read
on 23 June 2016
With each book that I read, my respect for Rose Tremain grows. She has an astounding talent for creating fully-developed, believable characters regardless of time, location, or circumstance, and weaving them into a story that takes the reader on a marvellous journey of discovery. Restoration is yet another feather in her cap.
Restoration promises an excellent plot, and delivers several times over. What a wonderful joyous novel this is! Merival, the protagonist, is by turns a scholar, a buffoon, a wit, and a fool. He is the embodiment of the Restoration in human form, rising in favour at court almost in spite of himself. When King Charles II selects Merival to play the cuckold, by entering a platonic marriage with one of the King's mistresses, we know that Merival's nature will render him unable to fulfill this role satisfactorily. And so his downward spiral begins.
Merival's predicament, in a lesser writer's hands, might run the risk of high melodrama, but Tremain makes his failure as funny as it is pathetic so, while we laugh at his foibles, we cannot help but root for this lovable rogue because his faults are the perfect foil for his aspirations. So we cheer him on as he stumbles and falters to find a way back into the King's affection, searches, indeed, for his own personal restoration. Along the way, we meet a host of characters, each in their own way revealing hidden depths in Merival until we know the man as well as we know ourselves, and are captivated till the very last page, hoping dearly for his salvation whilst fearing that his run of failure is neverending.
Tremain herself was so enthralled with Merival as a character that she wrote a sequel (Merival, A Man of His Time) and I look forward to reading the continuing misadventures of this amorous buffoon, not least because few authors have the ability to snatch the breath from my lungs with the perfection of their writing.
Long live Merival! And longer still live Rose Tremain!