This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark
Released on June 9, 2015
With the build up of excitement about the latest TV adaption’s release on Masterpiece Theater, I was ecstatic when the opportunity came to read the books on which the Poldark series is based. My anticipation was high and I was not to be disappointed. I was pulled in to experience the author’s 18th Cornwall right alongside his captivating characters in the sweeping saga that begins in this book. Atmospheric, authentic, gritty, and hopeful against a backdrop of trouble times, smoldering family situations, love lost, and love found. Ross Poldark was a hero worthy of the name.
The story opens with Ross returning home from war after his father’s death. He plans to marry his sweet Elizabeth and settle into farming his lands. Instead he is confronted with a home that is neglected, finances in precarious position, and a sweetheart that has forsaken him for his fair cousin. Ross is a dark Poldark and takes all this hard even though he goes about with equanimity. He sinks himself in restoring the land and his home even as he is forced to watch from afar Frances and Elizabeth as they happily have everything so easy.
Ross was influenced by the democratic beliefs he saw in America during the war and his blurring the lines between the classes makes him a friend of the workers, but suspect with the local gentry of his own class. His shocking rescue of a young girl who was living in an abusive home and raising Demelza up as a friend really sets the cat among the pigeons. Demelza brings stability to Ross’ home and she is loyal when he ventures into reopening mining works on his land, bringing in a good harvest, and navigating the uneasy waters with his other Poldark relations. Under the eyes of gossips, naysayers, and those who would wish the outspoken, passionate Poldark ill, Ross does what he thinks is right and in the doing might find his own way back to happy with Demelza and his ventures.
I started reading this story and it captivated me from the beginning. The situation that Ross returned home to was dire and heartbreaking. He left as a wild young man and came home much the wiser with plans that were simple, but happy only to find his home and lands in ruin and his fickle lady love now in love with his cousin. Ross was close to his cousin and his cousin comes from the more prosperous branch of the family so the blow of losing Elizabeth was even harder. I got frustrated really fast with his relations and Elizabeth who expected him just to accept this the second he was blindsided with the news, and then later be forced to accept their excuses and show up the wedding as if it wasn’t a knife to the heart. I was proud of him when he lost it with his cousin and put a stop to it.
[quote]”Where is this?” said Ross. “It must be the one beside the track to Reen Wollas-“
“Or at the edge of the sand hills. Look, Ross, I wished to explain. When I first met Elizabeth this spring past, there was no thought in my head of coming between her and you. It was like a stroke from the blue. Both she and I-“
Ross turned, his face high-strung and dangerous. “In the Devil’s Name, isn’t it enough to-“
Such was his expression that Frances stepped back upon the wooden bridge crossing the shaft. p. 54-55 Ross from Ross Poldark[/quote]
The story is narrated by several characters, but sticks mostly to Ross’ storyline. It is Ross’ personal journey and the others have strong roles and side stories going on. He is so original to his place and time that he stands out against all the others who are going through their life staying right in line with expectation. He is colorful and larger than life though he doesn’t see himself as such. I was enchanted by the woman that comes along and slowly gains his attention, respect, and love. She is his equal when it comes to personality and character. They shocked the neighborhood by daring to cross the class lines and make a real go of it.
[quote]She was quite silent. He had never done before what he had done that night. He had never kissed her before except in passion. It was something different. She knew him to be closer to her than he had ever been before…I am happy he thought again. p. 298-299 Ross and Demelza from Ross Poldark[/quote]
The historical backdrop was equally fascinating as it told the story of this Cornish mining community and 18th century rural Cornish society. The descriptions and situation was blended in so that it read neatly as part of the story.
There was a cast of colorful characters and entertaining dialogue to describe and explain so that it was never boring. In fact, the dialogue particularly involving those of the poorer class can be a ticklish challenge to work out, but it wasn’t so hard that I couldn’t do it easily. There is also a trick of Ross’ when he doesn’t wish to talk about something that he talks on a totally different subject while the other person is talking to him in a back and forth dialogue. It was hilarious. Ross’ servants were another source of amusement as they are rascally and try to get away with doing as little as possible and drinking enough gin to stun a plow horse.
The pacing was gentle and the story built slowly and steadily. This is a saga and the author took the time to establish the foundation of the series with this book. I like how the author tied things up to give a satisfying ending, but also left things in a good place for what is to come.
I loved this moving, atmospheric beginning to Ross and Demelza’s story and would recommend it to those who love Historical Fiction or slow building Historical Romance set in the Georgian era in Cornwall.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Grand Giveaway Contest
Win One of Three Fabulous Prizes
In celebration of the re-release of Ross Poldark and Demelza, Sourcebooks Landmark is offering three chances to win copies of the books or a grand prize, an Anglophile-themed gift package.
Two lucky winners will each receive one trade paperback copy of Ross Poldark and Demelza, and one grand prize winner will receive a prize package containing the following items:
(2 ) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers
(1) Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Plater by Johnson Brothersr
(1) London Telephone Box Tin of Ahmad English Breakfast Tea
(1) Jar of Mrs. Bridges Marmalade
(1) Package of Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits
(2) Packets of Blue Boy Cornflower Seeds by Renee’s Garden Heirloom (1) Trade Paperback Copy of Ross Poldark & Demelza, by Winston Graham
To enter the giveaway contest simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the Ross Poldark Blog Tour starting July 06, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, August 10, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the entrants and announced on the Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015. Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to US residents and the prizes will be shipped to US addresses. Good luck to all!
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