Demelza (The Poldark Saga #2) by Winston Graham

Demelza

In the enchanting second novel in Winston Graham’s beloved Poldark series, Demelza Carne, an impoverished miner’s daughter Ross Poldark rescued from a fairground brawl, now happily finds herself his wife. But the events of these turbulent years test their marriage and their love. As Ross launches into a bitter struggle for the right of the mining communities, Demelza’s efforts to adapt to the ways of the gentry (and her husband) place her in increasingly odd and embarrassing situations. When tragedy strikes and sows the seeds of an enduring rivalry between Ross and the powerful George Warleggan, will Demelza manage to bridge their differences before they destroy her and her husband’s chance at happiness?

Against the stunning backdrop of eighteenth century Cornwall, Demelza sweeps readers into one of the greatest love stories of all time.

Demelza (The Poldark Saga #2) by Winston Graham
Published 1946
Format: paperback; 432 pages
Classics/Historical Fiction/Romance
Also By This Author: Ross Poldark (The Poldark Saga #1)Jeremy Poldark (The Poldark Saga #3), Marnie, Cordelia
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

It’s rare to enjoy a sequel more than the first book in a series, but as much as I loved Ross Poldark by Winston Graham, I was even more captivated by Demelza, the second part of the saga.

If you are familiar with the Poldark books or tv series, you probably love Demelza Carne/Poldark. How can anyone not love her? She has the classic rags-to-riches story and throughout the first two books in the series she quickly becomes the glue that binds the Poldark family together. Even the stauncher characters in the books lose their prejudice against Demelza’s lower class status when they meet her.

In Ross Poldark, Demelza first learns to become a servant, then Ross’s wife, then a lady of Nampara, and then a members of the extended Poldark family. In this second book we see even more of Demelza as she becomes a mother and an active member of the Cornwall community.

Demelza is a much darker novel than its predecessor. We see several feuds and tragedies unfold through Demelza’s eyes, the majority of which have detrimental consequences that remain unresolved at the end of the novel. Because Demelza has such a deep heart, reading this book through her point of view makes the story deeper and more emotional riveting.

“They are all sentimentalists at heart, the Poldarks.”

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy historical fiction.
…you’re interested in classics that revolve around technology (i.e. mining).
…you love paring books with film or tv adaptations (this is not the first–or last–time that I have raved about the current Poldark series).
…you’re looking for a book that will make you feel everything deeply.

“Everything at the moment, my dear, no doubt seem disgusting. I know the mood too well. But being in that mood, Ross, is like bing out in the frost. If we do not keep on the move we shall perish.”

Final Musings:

BBC recently wrapped up filming for the second season of Poldark, and since I don’t plan on reading the third book, Jeremy Poldark, until after the season ends, I have no ideaa what’s in store! Normally I would read the book first, but so far I’ve enjoyed seeing the perspectives of the show creators before I can compare their adaptation to the book.

Here’s a clip from season 2 of Poldark, which follows the plot events of Demelza. Currently the entire collection of aired episodes is available to watch on Amazon Prime. I kind of feel like rematching it after finishing this book :)

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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?!