I recall my friend Mrs Onyabike's comment that she would never attempt to write a novel because she couldn't get close to the realm inhabited by authors such as Rose Tremain.
I've read two Rose Tremain novels, thanks to Mrs Onyabike, Music and Silence and Restoration.
I don't know how to describe Tremain's writing without falling into gushing superlatives (Google her, there's heaps of sites).
It took me a couple of months to read Restoration because my only guilt-free reading time is on the bus to and from work.
Now I've finished, I feel lost without Tremain's main character, physician Robert Merivel, in my life. I didn't want his story to end. He was so real to me because Tremain had imbued in him those human traits we see in ourselves.
He was a loveable scallywag. He could be stupid and vain, but he also had a brilliant mind. He did dumb things, but then made amends. He learnt from his mistakes, which were numerous. He fell from grace but redeemed himself.
Merivel was also lucky to be surrounded by a cast of colourful, supporting characters - each with his/her own story.
I'm not going to let Tremain's genius put me off writing. I can't aim for the stars, but I would like to write a book that will be enjoyed and savoured.
I better get started. Oh, before that I have to watch the 1994 film of the book, Restoration, starring Robert Downey Junior as Robert Merivel.