Merivel: A Man Of His Time
- Publication Date:
- 06 September 2012
- Historical Fiction
Showing 1-2 out of 2 reviews.
<i>I note that when I first set down my Story, I speculated that there may have been more than one Beginning to it. I suggested indeed Five Beginnings. For I understood then that no life begins only when it begins, but has many additional inceptions, and each of these determine the course of what is to come.And now I see with equal clarity that a man's life may have more than one Ending.</i>So ponders Sir Robert Merivel, protagonist of Rose Tremain's <i>Restoration</i> and this sequel, while reading the worm-eaten, mouse dropping stained journal found underneath his bed, now fondly referred to as <i>The Wedge</i>. Those who have read [Restoration] will recall some of those Beginnings: the exceptional medical skills that first called Merivel to court; the opportunities there, won and lost and won again; the revival of his devotion to medicine, first in a humble Quaker home for the insane, then in treating victims of the plague; the unexpected love for his newborn daughter. As the sequel begins, Merivel, now aged 57, has been happily settled at Bidnold for a good many years, living comfortably, if not extravagantly, on the King's annual <i>loyer</i>. His daughter, Margaret, has blossomed into a lovely, intelligent young woman of seventeen and is eager to see the world. When she is invited by a neighboring nobleman and his family to join them in a visit to Cornwall to see the puffins, Merivel's loneliness spurs him to seek adventure abroad. Granted a letter of introduction from the king to his cousin, Louis XIV, Merivel heads to France in hopes of finding a position in the court of Versailles.Tremain does a fine job of depicting a court that is even more insular, snobbish, and <i>au courant</i> than Whitehall. While Merivel never finds a position, he finds love (well, maybe) and more than a few adventures--as does Margaret, who is herself called to court--much, initially, to Merivel's dismay.Much of the pleasure of reading <i>Merivel: A Man of His Time</i> is in the smaller details and connections to the first novel, and I don't want to give away too many of them here. Suffice it to say that Will Gates is back, cantankerous and devoted as ever, but slowing down a bit. Rosie Pierpoint and Violet Bathurst are still in the neighborhood, and Merivel is again on good terms with the King. And there is a bear, named Clarendon by the king . . . The only reason this book received 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because I adored <i>Restoration</i>, and while the sequel kept me engrossed, well, it wasn't (and really couldn't be) <i>Restoration</i>. It would have been impossible to recreate those moments of surprise and delight, once I had been introduced to the characters and the court, as Tremain depicts them. I highly recommend reading both of Tremain's Merivel novels, in sequence, to get the most out of both.
The Good Stuff Intrigued me enough to want to go out and get a copy of Restoration (Prequel to this story) Although extremely slow at times it still kept me interested enough to keep reading & again regretting that I probably should have read Restoration first Merivel is a likeable and easy to understand character and one that we can all see a bit of ourselves in Drily witty - this author has a delightfully British sense of humour that I truly appreciated Eloquent writing style Historically accurateThe Not So Good Stuff Extremely slow and depressing at times I know I have mentioned this a thousand times during this review, I really think not reading the first book did a disservice to my enjoyment of this bookFavorite Quotes/Passages"For the reason that you would not know of my falling, for I am a servant, Sir Robert, and have practiced the Art of Invisibility for these twenty years, so that the sight of me, whether upright or lying down, be never troubling to you.""and this I find I do dislike among the very pious, that they must always assume a man's soul requires their Intervention, without first politely inquiring whether that soul wishes it or not.""Of course. You held Wonder in your hands and than you lost it."Who Should/Shouldn't Read Although you can read this without reading Restoration first, I think it would be something enjoyed more if you did Not your beach read sort of book, this is one to take slowly and just enjoy Think this would appeal to a more mature reader Definitely for those who enjoy historical fiction3 Dewey'sI received this from W.W. Norton in exchange for an honest review
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