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Merivel: A Man of His Time Hardcover – April 15, 2013
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*Starred Review* In this wonderful sequel to Restoration (1990), set 16 years later, Tremain’s lovingly flawed protagonist, Sir Robert Merivel, pens a second riveting memoir. He aspires to leave nothing out, and readers will be the grateful beneficiaries of his witty, observant reflections and self-deprecating honesty. By 1683, Merivel has ripened into late middle age, but neither his love for his beautiful daughter, Margaret, nor his comfortable existence at Norfolk’s Bidnold Manor relieves his melancholy. Wanting to be “dazzled by Wonders,” he travels to Versailles, hoping to become a court physician, but is let down by its glittering emptiness and his own sartorial foibles. His affair with an unhappily married Swiss noblewoman brings him happiness but comes with unexpected burdens. Whether facing the illnesses of those closest to him, acting upon his lustful impulses, or pondering his responsibilities to his servants and king, Merivel finds that the compassionate and selfish aspects of his character are inextricably tangled. In a tone moving from contemplative and sad to uproariously funny and back again, Tremain masterfully captures the voice of a man searching for a satisfying and meaningful life as Charles II’s once-glorious reign winds down. It’s an absolute pleasure to spend time in Merivel’s company. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The publisher plans to trade on the popularity of the previous Merivel novel, and librarians can imagine the excitement this new one will create among serious historical-fiction readers. --Sarah Johnson
“What ultimately makes the book such a joy is simply being in Merivel’s company. His narration is by turns rueful, comic, despairing and joyful; but it’s always bursting with life, always good-hearted―and always entirely loveable.”
- James Walton, The Daily Mail
“Robert Merivel is one of the great imaginative creations in English literature of the past 50 years. [Merivel is] as rich and as dazzling as its predecessor―steeped in wise and witty reflection on the great Mysteries of Life, and the timeless, futile Hopes and Follies.”
- Mick Brown, The Daily Telegraph
“Tremain’s control of her character and her reflective but often dramatic unfolding of events are impressive acts of authorial ventriloquism, in which she gives a nod to the great diarists of that era but carries off her own man’s story with wit, grace and originality. . . . She not only effortlessly sustains momentum and mood, but brings the novel to as near a perfect ending as one could wish.”
- Rosemary Goring, The Herald
“When he appeared in 1989, Merivel was truly the man of the Thatcherite moment, an individualistic, hedonistic creature who held up a mirror to his audience. So does he still have something to say to us in 2012? Resoundingly, yes.”
- Daisy Hay, The Observer
“Richly marbled with intelligence, compassion and compelling characters, leavened with flourishes of lyricism and and attractive tolerance towards human frailties.”
- Angus Clarke, The Times
Top customer reviews
The characters change as they grow older , the unique twists of the plot kept me reading, expecting a surprise always finding one. Amazing story .
I loved it.