Review: Ross Poldark

Ross Poldark
Ross Poldark by Winston Graham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had seen the BBC TV series for the first two seasons (first two books) before I started reading this book. There are some differences as you’d expect, such as Captain Blamey, Verity’s love interest appearing in this first book and the affair starting before being abruptly ended by Francis and her father in a duel with Captain Blamey. In the TV series Captain Blamey was introduced in season two. Another noticeable difference from the TV series is that when Ross picks up Demelza from the market, she’s a small child and a lot of years pass (with Elizabeth giving birth in the meantime) before he marries Demelza when she is seventeen. In the TV series, perhaps to be more palatable to modern tastes, Demelza is already a teenager, so Ross looks less like a child-thief and molester than he actually does in the original story. The kidnaping caused uproar among Demelza’s home town and the miners formed a mob which crossed the county to attack Ross Poldark at his home and take back Demelza, all heavily edited in the TV series due to sensitivity issues around child protection with viewers. All they showed in the TV series was Demelza’s abusive father being mildly upset that she was taken.

There is quite a lot of broad Cornish dialogue in the book which can be hard to read through for Prudy, Jud and Demelza as well as Ross’s tenants and some miners. The author also skirts around describing feelings such as Verity’s heartbreak and Ross’s heartbreak. The author deals with it by making them both ‘strong, silent and throwing themselves into work as a way of avoiding dealing with feelings of rejection and loss’. It’s a bit clumsy and obvious to make both characters have identical ways of dealing with grief when they are quite different. Maybe the author found it awkward to write about feelings? Other than that the book was overall a good read.

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