Jul 272015

Ross Poldark Novel of Cornwall Winston Graham Sourcebooks cover 2015Rugged, Rustic, and Real

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

TYPE OF NOVEL: Historical Fiction

SETTING: Cornwall, England 1783-1787


  • Captain Ross Poldark: Only son and heir to Nampara, a ruined family estate. Just returned home from the American Revolutionary War where many family and friends thought he perished.
  • Elizabeth Chynoweth: Love interest of Ross Poldark, but presently engaged to his cousin, Francis Poldark
  • Francis Poldark: cousin and friend to Ross Poldark, heir to Trenwith, lives a more leisurely and carefree life
  • Verity Poldark: unmarried sister to Francis and cousin to Ross
  • Jud and Prudie Paynter: lazy servants at Nampara who frequently enjoy imbibing and being idle
  • Demelza Carne: an abused thirteen-year-old daughter of a poor miner, taken on to work as kitchen maid at Nampara


  • This series was first recommended to me last year by a lovely reader from my blog, Michelle Hall!
  • This series was raved about on this blog post by lots of readers and authors from across the pond.
  • Poldark Fever is currently in progress here in the US and I wanted to see what this series is all about!


  • Ross Poldark: Oh yes, I am in love! A most admirable and worthy hero! Ross is a responsible and compassionate landowner (kind of reminds me of Mr. Knightley in that regard). He thinks for himself, isn’t overly concerned about class and status, and in all he does is fair, loyal, and just. Adding to his appeal is his broken heart and brooding nature. The woman he thought of and loved while at war became engaged to his cousin. Ross goes through a very dark time as he deals with his disappointment and feelings of rejection, but unlike Captain Wentworth he is not bitter or resentful. Truly a man to admire in all quarters!
  • A New Saga to Immerse Myself Into: This series is twelve books long, spans forty years, and follows the course of many characters and story-lines. After reading just the first book I already feel invested in these characters and interested in what becomes of them. The first book of the series doesn’t fully resolve on all accounts, so the desire to continue reading is definitely to be expected. And with the miniseries752191fc1f6c2c7979c7e056ab71d97d on PBS and the loveliness that is Aidan Turner, I fully expect to become as obsessed with this series as I am Downton Abbey!
  • Vivid and Detailed Prose: I’m quite captivated by Winston Graham’s Cornwall. I haven’t watched the mini-series yet, but I feel like I have because of how the story was written. The scenes are descriptive, the events memorable, and the narrative filled with various types of emotion. It was definitely a story you could visualize in your head while reading.


  • Sometimes Hard To Follow: (in several small aspects) There are some regional dialects and a character with a speech impediment which were sometimes difficult to understand. Oftentimes two conversations/scenes were taking place or being described at once and it was a bit challenging to tell immediately when a switch occurred. And with so many characters introduced (and some of them just in passing) it sometimes became hard to keep track of and remember each character’s relationship/role. I wish there was a character list in this book. I’d definitely recommend making your own when reading this series!


I thought it may be of interest (to my lovely blog readers) to do this comparison. On first impression, this book is quite the opposite of Jane Austen novels. It is earthy, coarse, and gritty. We do not sit in drawing rooms and converse politely, we work the fields and mines, interact with the working class and servants, and see what happens in the kitchens and tenant homes. If anything, I felt the story with its harshness and grim realities more reminiscent of Emily Brontë‘s Wuthering Heights then any Jane Austen novel. However, what these two authors do have in common is their well-drawn characters and penchant for creating entertaining comedic reliefs (the Paynters and Aunt Agatha are prime examples of that!)


How happy am I to finally encounter Captain Ross Poldark! Like Mr. Darcy, Edward Rochester, and Heathcliff, I think he is a character I can have a lasting literary love affair with. 🙂 Ross Poldark, Poldark #1 has left me with questions I can’t wait to have answered: What happens between Francis and Elizabeth? Will Wheal Leisure prosper? Will Ross travel to Falmouth? Looks like I must read Demelza, Poldark #2 to find out!

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Win 1 of 3 Fabulous Prizes

To celebrate 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:

  • 1 DVD of season one of Poldark
  • 2 Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers
  • 1 Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Plater by Johnson Brothers
  • 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

Poldark Blog Tour Giveaway Updated x 500


To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on this post.

To increase your chances of winning, visit any of the other blog stops on the fabulous Ross Poldark Blog Tour hosted by the lovely Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose and  check out the spotlights, previews, excerpts and book reviews of these two acclaimed historical fiction novels!

  • This giveaway is open to US residents.  Thank you, Sourcebooks!
  • This giveaway ends August 10th! 
  • Winners will be posted at Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015.  Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize

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Check out the other tour stops HERE!

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  76 Responses to “Ross Poldark: The Poldark Saga #1 – Winston Graham”


    Meredith, I have been waiting and waiting for your review on this book. I have read all the Poldark series and Ross Poldark and Demelza are up there with Darcy and Elizabeth. This came out in 1975 (before you were born!) and the 1970s original series (for me anyway) is the best. I like Aidan Turner as Poldark but for me personally no one will ever take the place of Robin Ellis as my Poldark. I have all the DVDs too of the 70s series and if you get the chance I would highly recommend watching them. I am so glad you like the Poldark saga, there are lots of books to read and every one of them is excellent. Cornwall where the stories are set are in a beautiful part of the UK too. In fact, I think I might get the DVDs out again and watch!!


      Forgot to say you have summed it all perfectly.


      Thank you for your awesome rec and your patience! I had this book on my wishlist ever since you recommended. I must admit though…kinda glad I waited as these new editions by Sourcebooks are lovely! I greatly enjoyed having Aidan Turner’s image on my book! I’m curious to see Robin Ellis’s portrayal of Poldark. I think when I finish the books I’ll be searching the older series out! Haha! Hope you enjoy another rewatch!


    Hi Meredith. I really enjoyed this too. I agree with you about the grittiness. It’s funny that you should mention Wuthering Heights because the setting reminded me of another book too, although in my case it reminded me of Lorna Doone.


      Glad to hear you enjoyed it too, Ceri! Will look for your review! I haven’t read Lorna Doone yet, its funny we both felt the setting reminiscent of other works!


        I was told you can get the older movie version of Poldark from Netflix. I haven’t tried it yet. Lorna Doone – I read this while young and have the DVD of it – love it. Very romantic.


        If you can make time I think Lorna Doone is worth reading. I still need to catch up with the series but I’ve finished Demelza, so I can watch it safely now 🙂


    I am so in love with this series! (Yes, and Ross Poldark!) I haven’t started the books yet but I intend to change that soon!


    I have been watching the series and reading Laurel Ann’s blog of reviews for such. I so want to read the books but have not yet invested in such. I have a Pinterest site for Poldark as the lead actor is another drool-worthy piece of manhood.

    I did enjoy reading your review, Meredith. (I wish I knew where I could rent the 1970’s DVDs as I don’t really want to buy all of them.) Thanks for the hint about making up your own list of characters. I agree – even with the TV show I am glad that Laurel Ann spells out just who is who and the relationship and their positions in the community.

    Ross is so much more of a moral man who wants to do right by all than Heathcliff or even other mentioned heroes. He doesn’t brood about his loss love. He is a leader among men…men worth being led.


      Sheila, I rented the 70s version of Poldark from Netflix. I there are about four or five discs in the series.


      I quite agree! I loved Aidan Tuner as a dwarf, but he is even more likable and attractive as Ross Poldark! I’m complete agreement with you about his worthiness! I think the character list would be so helpful. I might try and go back and make one myself before reading book 2.


    I love this show so addicted to it i havent read the books but i love the show and cant wait to read the books


    Just finished watching Episode 6 on Masterpiece Theatre. LOVE IT! Now to read the books…


    I really enjoy the television series and want to read the books!


    I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the new TV series on Masterpiece… Aidan Turner is indeed fabulous! 🙂 The story has sucked me in and it’s convinced me to read the books too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂


    Loved this, Meredith, every word!!!

    I’m SO GLAD you met Ross Poldark at last, and fell in love with him like the rest of us. He has a lot of Darcy in him: loyalty, responsibility to those entrusted to his care (even if some of them do little to deserve his care and attention), determination to pursue his goals despite overwhelming odds and my, oh, my, such a wonderful ability to brood 🙂

    In some ways, he is even more to be admired than Darcy (if I can write such blasphemy 😉 ) because he’s not born with the silver spoon in his mouth and has to work, and work really hard, for everything he gets.

    Wonderful comparison with Jane Austen and Wuthering Heights! So true, the Poldark novels are a lot closer to the grim realities of life, probably because Ross is nowhere near as rich as Darcy and thus closer to the common people, both financially and in terms of sharing their fate, to some extent, when things go wrong.

    LOL re. the dialect 😀 I’ve been going to Cornwall almost every summer for over 14 years now and I still struggle with understanding people with really broad accent (to the point that I had to ask my husband, who’s been going to Cornwall every year since his childhood, to ‘translate’ for me now and again). As for the books, I had to read some passages aloud to make head or tail of what Judd or Prudie were saying.

    And awwww 🙂 ‘Would Ross ever go to Falmouth? 🙂 I don’t think so, Nampara is on the northern coast and he tends to go no further south than Truro, but the coastline is as wild and beautiful, maybe even more so, where he and Demelza live.

    Enjoy the following novels, they’re a roller-coaster!


      Aww! Thank you Joana! I’m so glad you of all people thought my review was good! Yes, Ross had a lot of Mr. Darcy’s good qualities and is completely missing some of the bad! I love how he has no reservations about mixing with people considered beneath him. As you say the upbringing is different and I think that must greatly impact his behavior. I love his loyalty – what he repeatedly does for Jim Carter won my heart!

      LOL! I’m glad to hear that even you have trouble understanding the dialect sometimes! I can easily imagine needing to ask your hubby to “interpret!” For me, Mrs. Choake was the hardest to understand though!


      Well, I’m glad I went to Falmouth thanks to your wonderful book Ms. Starnes!


    I’m really enjoying all the wonderful reviews these books (and the TV series) are receiving! Loved the first two novels and loving the show! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!


    Oh I’ve been devouring the mini series! I had find the original series some time ago and blazed through that, but I haven’t read the books yet. They have definitely been pushed to the top of my To Be Read list. I can’t fathom how I haven’t done so before. This sounds like a great giveaway!


    I saw the trailer to this after Downton Abbey and was immediately intrigued. And boy did it deliver!! I LOVED it.

    A British friend of mine who saw this when it aired in the UK suggested Aidan Turner would make a good Darcy. He was so happy-go-lucky in The Hobbit, it was hard for me to imagine him as a serious brooding character, but I thought he was brilliant in the role.

    I felt the girl who played Demelza got much stronger as the series progressed.

    Can’t wait until next season! I ranks up there with Downton Abbey as a favorite. In the meantime, if you are looking for a sweet historical drama, check out When Calls the Heart, the Hallmark series (based on a Janette Oke title). Having just finished season 2, season 1 is up on Netflix now. The lead actor, Daniel Lissing is just adorable!



      I’ve only seen the first 3 episodes, but I quite agree! On all accounts! Aidan Turner is brilliant and the lush and breathtaking spectacle they’ve created is wonderful!

      Thank you for the rec! We now have netflix and I am always looking for new shows to watch!


    I was a bit shocked when I found out Demelza was just 13 in the book when she was found by Ross! I was also shocked after watching the first 5 episodes of the series that my opinions of Elizabeth and Francis would flip flop so completely! I can’t wait to see how it all works out. Ross has his moments where he worries me a bit, but I just love him and Demelza.


      I can imagine! It looks like what takes place over 3-4 years in the book happens in 1 year on miniseries! Ooh! I am interested in seeing what happens between Elizabeth and Francis!


    Has anyone watched the 70s version with Robin Ellis and Ang. Rees and prefers this version as opposed to the remake.


    I finally got around to this book this summer, too. I had a feeling the books would be good b/c the 1970 TV adaption was good when I saw it years ago. Book was definitely better. Ross really captivated me and I loved the descriptions and the setting.


    Lovely review Meredith. I am glad you liked Ross Poldark the character. Graham’s writing is more Bronte than Austen in its gritty side of 18th century Cornwall. After being confined to the shrubberies for a while I was ready to gallop through the wilderness.

    You must watch the new adaptation. It is delightful and fairly true to the books.

    Best, LA


      Thank you for arranging this blog tour and inviting me to be a part of it! I’m so happy to finally meet Ross Poldark and I can’t wait to see more of him! 😉 The gallop through the wilderness is a refreshing change! 🙂


    I generally read the books first then muddle the the film adaptions….but time was limited so I just watched the miniseries and fell in love…and the books are always better than the films so I cannot wait to dive into the Poldark universe.


      I don’t blame you! It was hard for me to wait and watch the series…especially since Mr. Bingley was out gigging a lot and its summer so not a lot of shows are in season. 😉 I’m sure you will love reading the series, hope you get the chance to do so soon!


    I certainly agree with you about the “loveliness that is Aidan Turner.” He is my new British crush! (But I still love you, Colin Firth!)


    I have been enjoying the BBC Production. More than enjoying. I am a bit obsessed and waiting for each installment each Sunday is hard! I have the books on my hold list at the library but I am about 100+ in line. It is popular right now. I know books are almost always better than the movie so I can’t wait to read the books!


      That’s great that you love it so much already! Wow, that is a long waiting list! Hope it isn’t too long before you get the chance to read the series!


    Yours is the second review I’ve read that mentioned the occasional difficulty in reading the dialects. The other recommended reading the conversations out loud. So with the rec and yours to create a character list; I think I’ll be set to read the series! Hoping I get a chance to read them through this awesome giveaway! Great review! Love the way you’ve organized your thoughts. 🙂


    Great review, I am just visiting your blog for the first time on this Poldark tour. I am enjoying the Masterpiece show alot. I enjoy seeing the horses and beautiful countryside too. I thought it was interesting to read that the horse Ross rides has his own stunt double. I liked the way Demelza was so loyal to her dog Garrick in the earlier episodes altho I don’t think he was shown the last couple.
    Thank you for the chance to win in this contest. I hope to get to read the whole series but it might take me awhile…


    When you watch the TV show you do fall in love with Ross Poldark. 🙂


    It´s such a complete post, congrats Meredith!. I have to look for these books in my parents´ house. It´s so charming to discover new series of fascinating novels isn´t it?. Thanks for the suggestion of making our own characters list when we read the novel 😉 and I appreciate a lot the comparison you do with Jane Austen´s books, it´s really a thoughtful review.
    Don´t put me for the giveaway as I don´t live in US, but I wanted to share my opinions with you and the readers. Good luck to all of you, ladies with such beautiful items!


      Thank you, Teresa! It is wonderful to discover a new series! And such an extensive one – 12 books! Hope you find these books in your parent’s house and get the chance to enjoy them soon!


    Although I saw the original PBS Poldark and am now watching the current one, I have not read the books. Thank you for the excellent review and ealize that I must read the books now. Your review has truly intrigued me.


    Thank you for the review. I am LOVING the series and can’t wait to read the book!


    FABULOUS review! I am loving the series. The books are on my wish list.


    Great review, Meredith. 🙂 I have been avoiding all the gushing promotion (on multiple blog sites I subscribe to) on the new Poldark television series, for a couple reasons. First, I knew I would be watching the series as soon as I could and didn’t want any spoilers, or find out other’s opinions before I could form my own. Secondly, which relates to my firstly, we have all but the first episode waiting for us on the DVR due to Hubbby’s out of town travel, and working on a major remodeling project this summer.

    But I really do appreciate the reviews of the books because I have been intrigued since seeing the ’70’s televised series through Netflix perhaps five, six years ago. But alas, at the time did not have an e-reader, and searching for the books was prohibitive in multiple ways. So they kind of fell off my to-do-someday list. Now, of course, they are back on that list.

    So, another big thank you to you Meredith. And PUH—LEEEZE enter me in the giveaway, oooooooOOO! 😉


      Thank you, Michelle! It has been hard to avoid any spoilers about the miniseries! Any time I see a picture from the miniseries on FB or a blog, I make sure I stop reading and scroll down! 🙂 I hope when you do read/watch the series it brings you much pleasure! 🙂


    John says I can’t have any more book boyfriends. So, I’m thinking Ross and his lady can be my siblings or distant cousins. How’s that? Excellent review as usual, Meredith.


    I am loving this series and look forward to reading the books. Thank you for being a stop in the blog tour and for your thoughts. Great post.


    Thank you for your lovely review. I love this series and definitely love Aidan Turner as Ross. Thanks for the giveaway chance. Would love to read the books.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750. ( at) aol (dot) com


    I’m quite the opposite to you, having become immersed in the TV series. I have to keep the closed captions on because there is a bit of dialect in the series, as well, but I’m sure it’s significantly watered down. That explains another reviewer’s comment about feeling like she’d discovered another Georgette Heyer, though, not only the dialect but the fact that the stories contain a nice blend of drama and humor. I can’t wait to get hold of these books. Thanks for your review! I’ve been entering all over the place and would likely not have found your blog, if not for the giveaway.


    Thank you for such a lovely review Meredith. I loe well written characters and comic relief with a good story is my cup of tea. This series is on my wish list.


    I loved the show and I want to read the books!


    I (ashamed to admit this) did not watch the original series even though I was sitting right there in England when it aired. But this new one has been one of the highlights of the summer! Just love the characters Ross and Demelza and have nothing but disdain for Elizabeth and George Warleggan!
    The descriptions of the characters are very clear and helpful to any who might be getting ready to watch online if they’ve missed this as it aired.


    The show has me so addicted and i’ve heard nothing but great things about the books so i can’t wait to read them! this giveaway is awesome, thanks for posting!


    Haven’t watched the show. Just caught a few minutes here and there. Maybe the library will get the D.V.D. Great grand prize.


    Lovely review. The BBC/Masterpiece adaptation is so compelling! I am looking forward to cozying up with a mug of tea and the books to fully immerse myself in 1700’s Cornwall and these fascinating characters!


    it looks really good


    nice review


    Love, love the Poldark series. Handsome Captain Poldark and the beautiful Demelza. I agree that some of the historical period of the English Vernacular and dialects made it challenging to understand at times. I found it authentic and, historically accurate which I appreciate. This just made me want to watch it again which I did indulge and enjoyed the process.

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