Merivel by Rose Tremain was first published in 2012 and it’s the first book by that author that I’ve read.
The setting is Restoration England although the main character Sir Robert Merivel travels to Versailles and Switzerland for a while. Merivel is a physician and courtier to King Charles II, in fact in the past Merivel had become a professional cuckold, marrying Celia his wife so that the King could have her as a mistress, the deal being that Merivel was given a very generous annual stipend, with the promise that he didn’t ever try to sleep with Celia.
Even when Celia died the king continued with the payments, and Merivel leads a very comfortable life with his daughter by a second ‘wife’. But he wants to advance in his career and thinks that visiting the French Court at Versailles might be the way to do it. That’s a bit of an eye opener for him as his letter of introduction from the King to his cousin Louis is of no interest to those in charge at Versailles.
I’ll definitely be reading more books by Rose Tremain, at times this one is a real Restoration romp, which means bawdy sex as it was a free and easy age, so this one isn’t for the prudish.