Ross Poldark (The Poldark Saga #1) by Winston Graham

Ross Poldark

Ross Poldark returns to Cornwall from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his family and his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers that his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth, having believed Ross dead, is now engaged to his cousin. Ross must start over, building a completely new path for his life, one that takes him in exciting and unexpected directions.

Thus begins an intricately plotted story spanning loves, lives, and generations. The Poldark series is the masterwork of Winston Graham, who evoked the period and people like only he could, and created a world of rich and poor, loss and love, that readers will not soon forget.

Ross Poldark (The Poldark Saga #1) by Winston Graham
Published 1945
Format: paperback; 314 pages
Classics/Historical Fiction/Romance
Also By This Author: Demelza (The Poldark Saga #2)Jeremy Poldark (The Poldark Saga #3), MarnieThe Walking Stick
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥♥

Thoughts:

Very rarely do I invest myself into epic family sagas. I usually lose interest or grow tired of the drama along the way. There have been exceptions, however (e.g. The Anne of Green Gables series), and Poldark has the potential to be one of them.

Needing a new period drama to watch now that Downton Abbey has finished, I stumbled upon BBC’s adaptation of Poldark and FELL IN LOVE! I hadn’t even watched half of the first episode before I was recommending the show to friends. In two days I binge watched all 8 episodes of season 1 (thanks, Amazon Prime!) and immediately picked up the first book from my local library and devoured it in a few days.

Ross Poldark begins with a war veteran returning home to discover that everyone believed him to be dead, his father has died and his inheritance is in near ruins, and the woman he loves is engaged to his cousin. Ross essentially has to start his life over from scratch, but with his determination, his wit, and through the help of two extraordinary women, his cousin, Verity, and his kitchen maid, Demelza, he beings to find hope and happiness again.

I love that this series begins with a protagonist who has already lost everything. It’s a welcomed change from the typical novel that starts off with everything going well for the main character for a chapter or two. I appreciated Winston Graham’s ability to skip over that unnecessary suspense and immerse the reader immediately into Ross Poldark’s despair. It makes the novel so much more intriguing.

It only took me a few chapters to fall in love with the characters. Ross is kind and compassionate, but like Heathcliff he has his demons that earn him sympathy from the reader. Verity is the selfless and loyal friend whom you can always depend upon, but she has her own heartbreaking past that she’s suffering from. Jud and Prudie offer some hilarious comic relief. And Demelza shows subtle courage in the face of adversity. She is the harbinger of hope and redemption for several of the other characters.

Read This Book If…

…you love investing yourself in long family sagas.
…you enjoy reading historical fiction that portrays the differences between different socioeconomic classes.
…you savor epic love stories.
…you’re a fan of Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Game of Thrones, or Outlander. Poldark has similar themes, characters, and motifs.

Final Musings

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 I discovered Poldark by watching the current BBC television adaptation. Season 1 premiered last year and it covers the first two books in the series: Ross Poldark and Demelza. Here’s a trailer!!

They just finished filming Season 2, and it’s supposed to premiere in the fall in the UK…which means us Americans will have to wait nearly a year to see it! I’m going to break a rule I generally always follow. I’m going to watch Season 2 before I read ahead in the books. Normally I’m a huge advocator for “Read the book first,” but I want to keep the suspense of the show and I also know that, as a book purist, if an adaptation doesn’t stay true to the original story, I’m less likely to enjoy it UNLESS I watch it before I read the book.

But this means I can read the next book because Season 1 of the show already covered those events :)

Who else is excited for Season 2 of Poldark?!

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13 thoughts on “Ross Poldark (The Poldark Saga #1) by Winston Graham

  1. I love this series! It seems like season 2 is never gonna air! I’ve also been curious about reading the novels and whether it would be worth a read, but considering the novels you compared it to, I may have to give the books a try!

  2. I loved the TV series — and like you, it inspired me to read the books. So far, I’ve read Ross Poldark and Demelza. I made what I think now was a mistake and read both books right in the middle of the TV series, so the big emotional moments of the end of the TV run were spoiled for me already by the books. I’m also usually a “read it first” person, but in this case, I kind of wish I’d waited.

    Still, it’s a long wait until season 2 airs, so I may just go ahead with the books anyway…

  3. Like you and many, it was watching the television series that prompted me to pick up the book xD It was interesting to compare some of the changes the television show made from the book, which characters gained more prominence, etc. I have Demelza sitting on my TBR pile waiting to be read; greatly looking forward to reading that. Great review Maggie! :)

    • Thank you Lianne! Demelza is sitting on my coffee table right now waiting to be read :) I’m just finishing my Northanger Abbey reread first. I’m glad I’ve already watched the first season though, because now I’m prepared for the sad events in Demelza :'(

  4. I love it when a film/TV adaptation encourages people to pick up the book! I read Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South — which I loved — only after stumbling across the BBC adaption. Poldark sounds really interesting. I might give it a go (both the BBC production and the books!).

  5. Pingback: 2016 Reading Superlatives | macarons & paperbacks

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