Cover image for Restoration : a novel
Restoration : a novel
Tremain, Rose.
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New York : Viking, 1990.
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Restoration is a dazzling romp through 17th-century England. The main character Robert Merivel not only embodies the contradictions of his era, but ours as well. He is trapped between the longing for wealth and power and the realization that the pursuit of these trappings can leave one's life rather empty.

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Author Notes

Rose Tremain was born in London, England on August 2, 1943. She has written several novels including The Way I Found Her, Merivel: A Man of His Time, and The American Lover. Restoration was adapted into a movie in 1995 and a stage production in 2009. She has won numerous awards including the James Tait Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger for Sacred Country, the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award for Music and Silence, and the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2008 for The Road Home. She was made a CBE in 2007.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The double import of Tremain's title--it refers both to the reign of the 17th-century Restoration King Charles II and to the restoration to the protagonist of his beloved home and aspirations for his life--is one of the subtle delights of this accomplished novel, shortlisted for the Booker and winner of other awards in Britain. The story is of one man's rise and fall and rise again, of his discovery of love and faith, and his emotional maturation in a crucible of harrowing experiences. In a larger sense, however, it is a social, cultural and psychological picture of that age, when bluebloods lived in gaudy excess but others were expected to be content in their ``appointed stations.'' Through the whim of his adored monarch, narrator Robert Merivel becomes veterinarian to the Royal Dogs, unofficial Fool, and ``paid cuckold,'' when he marries the King's mistress, Celia Clemence, on condition that he himself will never fall in love with her. Having unwittingly succumbed to that forbidden emotion, Merivel is cast off by both wife and King, and must join his dour Quaker friend Pearce working in a lunatic asylum in remote, bleak Whittlesea. Another tragic loss sends him back to plague-ridden London, where his life comes full turn. Merivel embodies the contradictions of his era: though he is vain, frivolous and cynical, he is also a man of sensibility, intelligence and imaginative daring; his wry, witty voice holds the reader absorbed. A thoroughly satisfying read, the complex plot is augmented by acutely observed historical detail, nuanced character development, humor and poignancy. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Tremain's (The Swimming Pool Season) 1989 release, newly available on audio, is about a 17th-century physician, Robert Merivel, who falls out of favor with the king and tries to rebuild his life. The medical facts are interesting and seem to be spot-on with the time period. Merivel can be self-centered and doesn't seem to care about anyone or anything except for the one person he can't be close to. There is some gratuitous sex, but the story isn't action packed; it is more a day in the life, which does slow down a bit after the middle of the book. The narration by Paul Daneman is at times absolutely brilliant and at other times cartoonish; some listeners will be annoyed by occasional loud mouth clicks that aren't constant but are noticeable. Verdict This historical novel-very well written, sometimes humorous, and sometimes a bit sad-is recommended with reservations.-Susie Sharp, Eddy-New Rockford Lib., New Rockford, ND (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.