I can never figure out just what it means or what I should expect when reading a book that is either a Pulitzer or Booker winner or nomination. I think it's going to mean that I will just love it because it is so fabulous, but somehow that doesn't seem to be the way it turns out for me and this book is no exception.
'Restoration' starts out well enough, with Robert Merivel falling into favor with King Charles II. Merivel is a wild, lascivious, gluttonous young man fully enjoying the excesses of the king's court, thinking very little of his purpose in life. Merivel is commanded to marry the king's mistress and rewarded with a modest country estate with the understanding that he will have little or nothing to do with his wife Celia Clemence. At first the situation is agreeable to Merivel but after a period of time he becomes dissatisfied and restless with his life. He struggles to find something to inspire him and give him a feeling of accomplishment.
This story is a parable of sorts but the ending is somewhat beyond belief and written with a dreamlike narration which is inconsistent with the rest of the novel. I enjoyed the hedonistic Merivel at King Charles' court and the details of the period including the London fire of 1666. Much of the story was interesting, and it was well written but at the same time it didn't move me as much as I had hoped it to. I wanted to love Merivel and we certainly started off on the right foot but it just didn't develop into much and his character didn't stay with me after I was done reading. I liked many of the interactions between the characters but overall wasn't satisfied by this novel. I thought it was tied up a little too neatly for my tastes which gave it a bit of a fluffy feel. If you are looking for something light during this period you might like this. It just didn't have enough emotional depth to satisfy me.