The Poldark blog tour stops by again for my review of the second book in the series, 'Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790'. Here's a link to my review of the first book, 'Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787'. There is also a US giveaway with some fantastic prizes. Read on for more information!
* * * * *“If Jane Austen met Charlotte Bronte and they drank too much port, the Poldark Saga would be their literary love child.” — Poldarkian.com
Captain Ross Poldark rides again in the new Sourcebooks Landmark tie-in editions of Ross Poldark and Demelza, the first two novels in the acclaimed Poldark Saga by Winston Graham, adapted into the inaugural season of the new Masterpiece Classic PBS’s series Poldark, airing June 21 – August 2 on PBS.
In celebration, July 6th through August 3rd, The Ross Poldark Blog Tour will visit thirty popular book blogs specializing in historical, romance and Austenesque fiction. Featuring spotlights, previews, excerpts and book reviews of these two acclaimed historical fiction novels, the tour will also offer readers a chance at a fabulous giveaway contest including copies of the books and a stunning Anglophile-themed prize package.
This is book 2 in the Poldark series, so the following may contain some spoilers in relation to the events of book 1, though I've tried to keep them minimal. Read on at your own risk!
Here Demelza begins to really bloom into herself. She begins to gain confidence, both in her marriage and within society, finding that she can hold her own against uncharitable people, and discovering, to her amazement, that she has the power to attract men. However, Demelza’s origins are humble, and there are those who won’t let her forget it. I particularly felt for Demelza where the two worlds collide, absolutely excruciating!
‘She knew that however the day might turn, it was a black failure to her. Full-flavored meat for the gossips. Well, let it come. There was nothing more she could do. She had tried to be one of them and failed. She would never try again. Let them all go home, ride off at once, so that she might have done with everything. Only that she might be left alone.’
However, this helps Demelza grow as a character, she needs to accept herself for herself, not for her place in society through her marriage. As Demelza’s confidence grows she takes some steps that change the course of her family’s lives. All the decisions we make have a knock on effect on other events; often the effect is so small it’s unnoticeable, but some of the decisions Demelza makes have large repercussions, some of which she could never have imagined or foreseen. I think it’s likely that some of the repercussions haven’t been felt even yet, by the close of the book.
You might be wondering what has been happening with our hero, Ross. Well, he is trying to make a success of his business venture, the mine, but finding that others are determined to have him as their leader in a new venture. This means that he is almost forced into a position where he is likely to make some powerful enemies. Though Ross can be reckless in anger or times of great distress, as we saw in book 1 of the series, he remains an admirable and modest man for the most part:
‘Without Ross too they would have been lost, although he did not realise it. He was the stiffening, the unyielding element, and a large part of the driving power. Men accepted his integrity where with another they would have asked “What has he to gain?”
In the first book, there wasn’t a huge amount of romance in Demelza’s marriage, or if there was, it was a bit one-sided. However, the marriage is proving to be generally quite happy, and a lot more equal than might have been supposed. Though her husband is away from home more than is ideal, the relationship between them is lovely. There was some lovely banter between them:
“Something has excited you. Kiss me.”
She kissed him.
“Now I know it is not rum,” he added.
“Oh! Judas!” She wiped her mouth distastefully. “What insult next! If that is all you kiss me for, to pry and spy into my liquors...”
“It’s a sure way.”
“Then next time you suspect him I hope you’ll try it on Jud.”
As you can see from that last quote, the humour, one of the things I particularly enjoyed about the first book, is still present here. There were some snippets that really made me giggle, and as expected, Jud was involved in most of them:
‘She found she could see the lane outside. She edged nearer the window. Jud’s shiny head. A woman selling oranges. He was swearing at her. She was swearing back. Jud seemed scandalized that anyone could match his own bad words.’
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book. It was a real rollercoaster. There was excruciating embarrassment; there was pride in Demelza and how she was maturing and coming into her own; there was the wish to stop her from taking certain steps; there was pain and distress at some events. This was a book that made me both laugh and cry and actually made me have trouble sleeping because my head was still in Cornwall! I so wanted to discuss it with somebody and begin wild speculation about what is coming next, as Winston Graham is not afraid to have hardships befall his characters, and I am worried that more are coming! There are some gritty themes in this book, but there are also some real emotions and subtle touches, it’s a real mix. Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. I enjoyed the first book, but this book I was more completely involved in, I thought it was wonderful! A five star read.
*I was provided with an ebook of Demelza for my honest review as part of the Poldark blog tour.
(Please note that the following book blurb contains a spoiler for an event from book 1)
In the enchanting second novel in Winston Graham’s beloved Poldark series, Demelza Carne, an impoverished miner’s daughter Ross Poldark rescued from a fairground brawl, now happily finds herself his wife. But the events of these turbulent years test their marriage and their love. As Ross launches into a bitter struggle for the right of the mining communities, Demelza’s efforts to adapt to the ways of the gentry (and her husband) place her in increasingly odd and embarrassing situations. When tragedy strikes and sows the seeds of an enduring rivalry between Ross and the powerful George Warleggan, will Demelza manage to bridge their differences before they destroy her and her husband’s chance at happiness?
Against the stunning backdrop of eighteenth century Cornwall, Demelza sweeps readers into one of the greatest love stories of all time.
Winston Graham (1908-2003) is the author of forty novels. His books have been widely translated and the Poldark series has been developed into two television series, shown in 22 countries. Six of Winston Graham's books have been filmed for the big screen, the most notable being Marnie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Winston Graham is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 1983 was awarded the O.B.E.
Grand Giveaway Contest
In celebration of the re-release of Ross Poldark and Demelza, Sourcebooks Landmark is offering three chances to win copies of the books or a grand prize, an Anglophile-themed gift package.
Two lucky winners will each receive one trade paperback copy of Ross Poldark and Demelza, and one grand prize winner will receive a prize package containing the following items:
(1) Season 1 DVD of Poldark
(2) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers
(2) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers
(1) Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Plater by Johnson Brothers
(1) London Telephone Box Tin of Ahmad English Breakfast Tea
(1) Jar of Mrs. Bridges Marmalade
(1) Package of Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits
(2) Packets of Blue Boy Cornflower Seeds by Renee's Garden Heirloom
(1) Trade Paperback Copy of Ross Poldark & Demelza, by Winston Graham
To enter the giveaway contest simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the Ross Poldark Blog Tour starting July 06, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, August 10, 2015. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the entrants and announced on the Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015. Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to US residents and the prizes will be shipped to US addresses. Good luck to all!
As this is a blog tour that means there are other stops where you can learn more about the books, reading excerpts and reviews. The full list of stops is available on the Sourcebooks website. Remember, if you are a US resident you can comment on any or all the blogs to enter for the prize giveaway.
If you are not a US resident then I still welcome your comments, but unfortunately you are not eligible to win a prize aside from some of my appreciation :)Remember, you can also comment on my review of book 1, Ross Poldark, to enter the draw.
My thanks to Sourcebooks for the chance to review 'Demelza' and to Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose for arranging this extensive blog tour!