[Review] Ross Poldark (Poldark, #1) by Winston Graham

08:30 Cilla P 2 Comments

Title: Poldark
Author: Winston Graham
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Source: Library
Synopsis: Tired from a grim war in America, Ross Poldark returns to his land and his family. But the joyful homecoming he has anticipated turns sour, for his father is dead, his estate is derelict and the girl he loves is engaged to his cousin.

But his sympathy for the destitute miners and farmers of the district leads him to rescue a half-starved urchin girl from a fairground brawl and take her home - an act which alters the whole course of his life ...

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I came to this book in a kind of roundabout way. My friends gushed about the Aidan Turner-starred series at the start of last year, then this year I realised it was based on the book. I ended up reading the book before I started the series, purely because I saw that the audiobook was available in my library. At this stage, all I knew about Poldark was that Aidan Turner was swoon-worthy, which means nothing when it comes to the book.

As it turned out, Ross Poldark is an appealing character on his own. There are shadows in his character, which I adore. He is a good guy, but he is not nice at times. He aligns himself with the poor despite being part of the upper class when he sees them treated unjustly, yet he has his vices. Life would be easier for him if he plays according to the social hierarchies and rules, but he doesn't. He doesn't seem to know or want to be diplomatic at times, and so has to deal with the consequences. For me, that was part of the fun of this book: at times I was aware that he was kind of shooting himself in the foot with his choices and actions, but I was thrilled that he was making those decisions.

Ross alone wouldn't have kept my attention for 14 hours though. The story focuses on different people around him, and they are also compelling in their own ways. The other Poldark men frustrated me to no end (though at times I feel for George); I was rooting for Verity; and while I still haven't decided how I feel about Elizabeth, I want to know more about what goes on in her head. Demelza, though - the half-starved urchin turned Ross' kitchen maid - is hands-down my favourite. Fierce but insecure, her character growth is the one I love most.

Aside from the characters, there's a strong sense of Cornwall atmosphere in the story. The fact that I listened to the audiobook helped, as I had all the accents that I wouldn't otherwise be able to imagine in my head. Though, I found that whenever the narrative focused too long on the mines, my mind would wander. I cared more about the effects the business would have on the characters more than the ins and outs of the business itself. There were also descriptions about women that made me raise an eyebrow, though it may be due to the time period that the story was written in.

The pace of the story can be quite slow at times, so I'd recommend this to readers who are willing to put up with that. If you are interested in reading this, I highly recommend getting the audiobook. Oliver Hembrough does a wonderful job with the different voices and the narration.

Let's talk! 
Have you read or watched Poldark? What do you think? 
How important is a sense of place in a story to you? 

Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:
  • Goodreads Challenge
  • Around the World 2016
  • The Backlist Books Reading Challenge


  1. I so agree about the stuff with the mines - have to concentrate not to skim those bits, but I love the characters! The Poldark men can be infuriating, haha, but Francis definitely grew on me as time went on :) (Also series two is good so far!)

    1. Infuriating is absolutely the right word for them!! Francis is so frustrating and heartbreaking almost in equal measures (though mostly frustrating haha) - he's just so insecure. And yayy, I'm glad to hear that! I've finally finished series 1 and am waiting for season 2 to air here. :D


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