We follow the story of Ross and Demelza Poldark, their friends, family and enemies through marriages, deaths, children, disaster, war, politics tragedy and love set in Cornwall divided by class systems and poverty and further threatened by the French revolution.
So the BBC made me start reading Poldark. And book one was pretty good. But since then… I’ve read very little else! Partly because I was terribly bored by the other book I was reading but largely because the books are just BRILLIANT!! I’m just finished book seven, and don’t know how long I’ll be able to resist downloading number eight to the kindle. Here are some reasons I think it’s brilliant:
The character development is just STUNNING. It is partly the merit of sticking with the same ones (though more come in and out as you go) for such a long series. But their initial composition, and insight into their reactions to each other and to events as they unfold are precise and believable. I have become extremely attached to many of them, and equally invested in the downfall of others!
Particularly, I enjoy that it’s a story that starts with marriage – and it’s not happily ever after. The various marriages that we follow go through difficulties, with human misunderstanding rife in the way that it is. Graham is a superb observer of character – and does not let even our favourite characters off lightly. I have been constantly gripped!
Often in stories I have a fairly good idea of what is going to happen next, but here I have been surprised many a time. Though Graham is a big fan of love, and you can expect it to probably win in the end it is never without dramatic plot twists and difficulties.
Plus I’ve loved exploring Cornwall and the time period more and more as I go on. The fact that it’s a long series allows us to explore in depth the ways and changes in society, the prejudices and challenges coming from the French revolution and the appalling poverty in England, and the rise of the newly rich. Politics and interesting issues are represented through people and viewpoints, so you’re getting a history lesson without even realising it.
Graham also seems fascinated by the evolution of medicine: one of his favourite characters is Dr Enys who prescribes fresh air rather than bloodletting and leeches. It is perhaps an overladen point but you do care enough for the characters to let it continue.
I’m trying to take a Poldark break for a bit to pay some attention to my growing to read pile – but I’ve no doubt I’ll be back for more soon! And if you’re looking for something to read for a holiday or long trip, this is PERFECT!