BLURB: “Tired from a grim war in America, Ross Poldark returns to his land and his family. But the joyful homecoming he had anticipated turns sour, for his father is dead, his estate derelict, and the girl he loves is engaged to his cousin. However, 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…”
REVIEW: I never got around to watching the ‘Poldark’ series when it aired on TV, and I always prefer to read books before I watch their adaptations anyway, so I was looking forward to reading at least the first two novels in the series so that I could catch up on the TV programme. This first book in the series definitely did not disappoint and it was the fastest I’ve read a book in a while, plus it managed to keep me awake on my morning commute, an impressive feat to say the least. This novel introduces us to Ross Poldark, a dark, brooding soldier with both physical and emotional battle scars, who also happens to have a warm heart and an understanding, generous nature. When Ross returns to his ancestral home, Nampara, he finds the estate left in ruins by its reckless servants after the recent death of his father, and is also devastated to learn of the engagement of his beloved, Elizabeth, to his cousin Francis, despite the fact that before he left for the war an understanding had been between them that she would wait for him and one day be his bride. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Ross throws himself into improving the estate, also involving himself heavily in helping his tenants and the local people; particularly young Jim Carter and his wife Jinny Martin, two characters whom the reader finds themselves growing strongly attached to despite them being on the sidelines of the plot, as they suffer misfortunes and gratefully receive the help of Ross at every turn. In his efforts to aid people, Ross accidentally ends up rescuing a young girl named Demelza Carne. Beaten by her father and forced to care for five brothers, Ross is upset by Demelza’s plight and takes her (and her mongrel dog, Garrett) into his home as kitchen maid – a decision that will have far-reaching consequences, however, as Demelza grows up and begins to prove herself a match for Ross, gaining his love and desire as much as he tries to resist her. The relationship that blooms slowly between Ross and Demelza is central to the novel, as is the story of the poor tenants like Jim and Jinny; one of the other lesser characters whom I truly admired, however, was Ross’ cousin Verity, who defies her family in the name of love and proves a true and loyal friend to Ross during his darkest times. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to finding 0ut how the lives of many of the other characters in the novel have progressed in the next installment.