Ross Poldark, Winston Graham
It took me a while to get into this book, which I think was because I watched the BBC adaptation a few months ago and didn’t need to keep reading to find out what happened. However, once I did get into it I really enjoyed it. Ross Poldark has returned from war to find his father dead, his estate extremely run down and the woman he loves engaged to his cousin. What emerges from this premise is a story of inter-class romance, economic hardship and Cornwall itself.
I expected the love story to play second fiddle to the mining story, but that wasn’t the case in the book. Graham focuses mostly on the relationship between Ross and Demelza, as well as Verity’s relationship with Captain Blamey, while the developments with the mine and Francis’ financial difficulties are almost secondary to the rest of the plot. It’s concern with the difficulties of the miners reminded me a bit of Charlotte Brontë‘s Shirley, as their economic hardship is brought to the fore and we see Ross try to fight for justice for them, struggling with his own place in society as he is brought up against the class of gentlemen of which he is supposed to be a part.
The novel ends on an optimistic note, a serene picture of the nature of Cornwall. But, as we know from the TV series, there is much more of the story to come.