Merivel by Rose Tremain
Five words from the blurb: physician, courtier, laughter, King, loyalty
Last year I read and enjoyed Restoration by Rose Tremain in which Robert Merivel found favour with King Charles II. Merivel is the sequel to this 1989 Booker shortlisted novel and it begins in 1683, towards the end of Charles’ reign. Merivel is just as entertaining as Restoration - so if you enjoyed the first book you’ll find the sequel equally satisfying.
The book begins with Merivel heading to Versailles to enjoy the courts of Louis XIV. It follows him to Switzerland and then back to England, covering similar themes to the first book.
The writing is vibrant and it is a wonderful insight into 17th century life!
Recommended to fans of Restoration.
Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville
Five words from the blurb: Australia, histories, relationship, love, stories
I loved The Secret River so was keen to read this sequel. Unfortunately it was written in a different style to the first book and I failed to engage with it.
Sarah Thornhill begins a generation after The Secret River and follows William Thornhill’s daughter, Sarah, as she grows up and falls in love with a mixed-race neighbour. Unfortunately their love affair was unconvincing and all the characters were two-dimensional.
The writing style was lighter and faster paced than that of The Secret River, but I felt it lacked the depth of the first book. I never cared about the characters and found myself losing interest in the plot. After a particularly unconvincing scene about half way through I abandoned it. I’ve heard similar complaints about The Lieutenant. Are any of Grenville’s other books as good as The Secret River?
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