Like many of the best books, Restoration was an accidental find. It appeared on my desk with a remark from my mother that I had better read something by Rose Tremain before we went to see her in interview as part of the Norwich Hostry Festival. It was, I hasten to add, a very happy accident: she is a really fabulous writer, and I have since read two collections of her short stories and am partway through the sequel to Restoration, Merivel: A Man of his Times.
Restoration is a historical novel, set in England during the reign of King Charles II. Focussing on the ambitious young medical student Robert Merivel, the novel covers his journey from the son of a glove-maker to the king’s favourite courtier. The King, under duress from his wife, marries his mistress, Celia, to Merivel, making him swear that while he can do whatever he likes with other women, he must not touch Celia. Of course, for poor Merivel, it is not long before he falls in love with her and his fortunes are destined to fall once more.