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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Poldark Blog Tour, Review and US Giveaway

Ross Poldark Blog Tour banner

You may have seen other blogs taking part in the Poldark blog tour recently. Well today, it's stopping here for my review of the first book in the series, 'Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787'. There is also a US giveaway with some fantastic prizes. Read on for more information!


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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.


Book cover: Ross Poldark by Winston Graham - Sourcebook Masterpiece Tie-InMy review: 
As many of you will know, I live in the UK, where the mini-series of Poldark was screened earlier this year. I recorded it, but I still haven't watched it, even now. I wanted to read the books first, so I can imagine things without being too influenced by somebody else's interpretation. I was so pleased to be given the opportunity to take part in this blog tour so I could read the first two books in the Poldark saga, which are the books covered by the first TV series.

This book starts off with Ross Poldark's father, Joshua, dying. It's clear even here that something is amiss for Ross; Joshua feels remorseful that he hasn't done more to promote Ross's marriage to Elizabeth Chynoweth, a local gentlewoman. Ross is away fighting in America and his father knows that Ross fully intends to marry as soon as he can come home. Being too unwell to visit the Chynoweth family himself he asks his elder brother Charles to intervene. Charles, who has a son of his own, Francis, is quite evasive in his answers to the dying man and straight away you can see that something fishy is going on. When Ross can finally come home, some time later, his face scarred and his ankle injured, making him for the time lame, he finds himself intruding on a family party, celebrating the engagement of Francis to Elizabeth. 
'His was not an easy face to read, and no one could have told that in the past half hour he had suffered the worst knock of his life.'
He then goes on home to find his servants drunk, his house a mess, his land neglected and no planting of any sort done! Things can't get much worse for Ross. His feelings for Elizabeth were very strong and very real and while he often drinks to forget and sometimes finds an outlet in more lustful behaviour in general he is a good man. He is a hard worker and stands up for people. He isn't afraid to take on unpalatable tasks even though he feels like his soul is going through 'the winter' because his conscience is very strong.
'But all he felt was an ashen desolation, an emptiness, a contempt for himself. He had behaved badly. It was so easy to play the jilted lover, the bitter and sarcastic boor.'
This book follows Ross through his time of disappointment, and through to the beginnings of a new chapter in his life with the possibility of a brighter future ahead. 

I read quite a bit of historical romance, nearly all of which are written by women. I found this story quite different from my usual reading and I'm not sure whether it makes a difference that it's written by a man or not. Firstly, this is quite an unpolished society, as opposed to many historical books which show only the highest side of society. Ross is a country squire but the society he is within is very mixed. He is quite egalitarian in his outlook, and is happy enough to mix with his servants and his tenants, who are mainly miners.

There isn't much glossing over of unpalatable truths either - there is casual mention of beatings, animal cruelty, cock-fighting, drowning unwanted babies and everybody having lice - not quite the romanticised ideal usually portrayed in historical fiction, but it is quite an eye-opener and very entertaining. 

One thing I particularly enjoyed in this book was the humour, much of which relates to Ross's servants, Jud and Prudie. Jud in particular I found extremely amusing. For example, Ross is challenged to a fight in his own home by three men after technically abducting a minor, Demelza, to be his kitchen maid so that she can escape the beatings of her father. Prudie goes to get Jud to provide back up to Ross, so that he is not unfairly overpowered, and Jud has purposely proved elusive to find and is now dawdling back to the house until he hears this:
"'Tis all right. They're...fighting fair. 'Tis a proper job to watch--" 
"What?" snapped Jud. "Wrastling? 'Ere, 'ave we missed it?" 
He dropped his pitchfork, broke into a run, and reached the house ahead of the other two.
Now I've got on to the subject of Demelza, I have an illustration of why I'd generally rather read the book first! From pictures I couldn't help but see on the internet I had a general idea of where their relationship might be headed (and if you don't want to know, then don't read the blurb for book 2 of this series just yet!) so I was a little shocked that Demelza was so different to what I'd expected. When she is first taken in by Ross she is only 13 or so and I had expected her to be older. However, bear in mind that this book takes place over a spell of time. 

I was expecting events to be more romantic than they turned out to be in this book. This isn't a bad thing by any means, all I mean is that what the book offers isn't quite what I'd expected. This is probably due to my usual diet of historical romance where the realities of life are often toned down and the romance amplified, which isn't the case with this book. In many respects it's quite prosaic, but with some lovely and often quite poignant insights into the relationships between the characters and where they are heading.

I will make mention now of the language used. As you might notice from the last quote I put in, some of the characters speak in a Cornish accent. I don't mind reading accents, though I know some people really struggle with them. I would say that the accents here are not too thick, so they are pretty easy to interpret. However, there is also a character with a speech impediment, which is far more tiresome to read, but if you read it out loud it all makes sense! I was a little surprised with some of the wording used because there are some words which I believe are US English, but the author was English. The spelling in this Sourcebooks version is US spelling, and I'm not sure whether some of the words have been changed too, or whether those words were used in the original book back in the 1940s, but it's only a few instances and not enough to distract.

I would absolutely recommend this book. If you like historical romances it's something a bit different. Bear in mind that it's the beginning of a saga, though, so it tells the first part of a story rather than concluding neatly at the end. This book sees Ross through his heartbreak and to a new beginning, which will continue in book 2 of the saga, 'Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790', which I'll be reading next!

I'd give this book a 4½ star rating.

4.5 stars

Book cover: Ross Poldark by Winston Graham - Sourcebook Masterpiece Tie-In
BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In the first novel in Winston Graham’s hit series, a weary Ross Poldark returns to England from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth—believing Ross to be dead—is now engaged to his cousin. Ross has no choice but to start his life anew.

Thus begins the Poldark series, a heartwarming, gripping saga set in the windswept landscape of Cornwall. With an unforgettable cast of characters that spans loves, lives, and generations, this extraordinary masterwork from Winston Graham is a story you will never forget.

Picture: Author of Poldark, Winston Graham
AUTHOR BIO:

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

Poldark blog tour prizes
Win One of Three Fabulous Prizes

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) DVD of Season 1 of Poldark
(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!

Ross Poldark Blog Tour
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 :)

My thanks to Sourcebooks for the chance to review 'Ross Poldark' and to Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose for arranging this extensive blog tour!

69 comments:

  1. I am very much looking forward to reading this series. I too am waiting to watch the series as I missed the firs episode and didn't record it.

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    1. Oh no Deborah Ann! That is the worst, when you miss the first episode. I checked the planner earlier, they are all still there, I just need to read Demelza and then I can start watching it.

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  2. A wonderful series.I look forward to reading both books. Thanks for being part of the tour.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Carol :)

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  3. I am enjoying the series! I can't wait to read the books.

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    1. I'm glad to hear the series is good, I'm looking forward to it. I enjoyed the first book very much.

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  4. i love the series love to read the books

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    1. Good luck in the giveaway Denise!

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  5. Great review! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Really enjoying the new TV series and this blog tour! :)

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth! Looking forward to the TV series myself :)

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  6. I've very much enjoyed this series to date and look forward to seeing how the characters grow. I'm enjoying the PBS Masterpiece series also!

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    1. Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing their development too. Thanks for stopping by, Julie!

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  7. Can't wait to read the books!! History, romance, and drama, love it!

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    1. I agree, Samantha, the combination of those elements are the best!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Gambit, and good luck in the giveaway.

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  9. As always, your reviews are so insightful and right on the button. I read the same book, but I love to see how you brought out different nuances like the humor and the description of the society there. Looking forward to book two. Hope you get a chance to see the TV series soon. :)

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    1. Hi Sophia, thank you so much for the compliment! I enjoy reading your reviews too, because, to steal a quote "No two persons ever read the same book" and it's always interesting to see what has stood out for other people. Good luck in the giveaway my friend!

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  10. Thank you for the extensive and informative review! This makes me more eager to read the book. I hope you do enjoy the series when you watch it - I'm loving it so far!

    Thank you, also, for the chance to enter the giveaway!

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    1. Thank you Courtney! I'd definitely recommend the book, really enjoyed it. I am glad to hear so many positive comments about the series, I hope I can make time to watch it soon.

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  11. I'm loving the series on PBS and now can't wait to read the books after all of these fabulous reviews, including yours! Thanks for being on the tour and hosting the giveaway. Hope I get lucky!

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    1. Thanks Michelle, good luck in the giveaway!

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  12. I read the books years ago when the first series was shown (and that Demelza was a milllion times better!). Still, I am enjoying the new version too.

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    1. I have never seen the first series. I will have to try and rectify that sometime!

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  13. Loving this series and would love to read the books as well. Thank you for hosting in the giveaway!

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    1. Thank you Becky! I hope you enjoy the books when you read them.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Melanie!

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  15. I've been stacking up all the episodes of Poldark on my DVR so I can binge-watch them all ... and would love to read the books!

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    1. It was shown earlier in the year here in the UK Katherine, I have them all there ready for the watching, just need to read Demelza so I can get to it.

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  16. Loving this Poldark! Have read the first two books on my Kindle but would love to have printed copies! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

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    1. Good luck in the giveaway, Paula!

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  17. I have this series on my Wish List and will definitely get to them at some time. Meanwhile I am enjoying the TV series. Would love to win copies of any of these books but even if I don't I will read them. OK Paula - you are a day ahead of my time zone. Australia?

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    1. Book 1 at least is definitely worth reading. Books 1-7 are on kindle daily deal today in the UK, £1.19 each. I can't decide whether to get them or not, I have so much to read, don't know when I'll ever get to them all!

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  18. My computer says July 24 so I am guessing the blog author is stationed in England?

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    1. Hi Sheila, yes, I'm in the UK, in Wales. It must be surprising to see your posts have a future time!

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  20. This sounds like such a great series. I'm enjoying the TV show and will read the books next!

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    1. I hope you enjoy them when you read them Susan!

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  21. I'm SO excited to read these books! Each review and excerpt I read gets me more and more excited! Plus this giveaway is fantastic! And the blogs I'm discovering because of it are wonderful. So glad to have found yours! I was surprised to find out, too, that Demelza is so much younger in the books, but I'm glad to know there's a lot of time for things to develop throughout the books.

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    1. I was surprised too! When she was first introduced I didn't think it could be her because of her age.

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  22. Great review! I am watching the series in the US. ;)
    caliwillette(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thank you Cali! I am looking forward to the series.

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  23. Thank you for you insightful review of the Poldark novels. I am loving the series on PBS and can't wait for Season 2 to start.

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    1. Thank you Clarabela, glad you're enjoying the series.

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  24. I love this series. I presume Sourcebooks will eventually release all of them. So much fun ahead!

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    1. I have very much enjoyed the first book. I feel quite invested in some of the characters

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  25. Haven't read any of these. Only caught a few minutes of the show on T.V. If I decide to watch it, I may get the DVD from the library.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I certainly plan to watch the series, but I prefer to read the books first, so I can imagine things without having to un-imagine them first!

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  26. Oh, to win one of these enticing prizes. I'm recording the series, in the US, to watch it over a day or two and am eager to read the books behind the series.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. They are lovely prizes aren't they! Good luck :)

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  27. Thanks for the wonderful and honest review. I just finished watching the series that aired on PBS and I am really looking forward to reading all 12 Poldark books.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Heather! I hope you enjoy the books when you read them.

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  28. I have enjoyed watching the Masterpiece series and would love to read the book series. I also need to look up some other of the author's works. It has been fun reading all the reviews on the tour. I read there is an audio version which would be great to try too. The characters seem real, very real emotions. Hated to see the show end last night. Was impressed with the actor who played George, he did a great job last night. Thanks for being on the tour and a chance to win.
    cjay(at)iavalley(dot)edu

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    1. Hi Carla, I am looking forward to seeing George, though from the books I already do not like him one bit. Good luck with the giveaway :)

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  29. Thanks for the giveaway!
    cricketlady29@hotmail.com

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    1. Hi Ashley, thanks for stopping by. Good luck in the giveaway.

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  30. omg the books seem so good im dying to read them! the show got me totally hooked! thanks for posting this great giveaway!

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    1. I was really caught up in the books, Laurie, the second book in particular. I hope you get to read them soon!

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  31. I Loved the show and just started book one. So far so good!

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  32. I have to read these books!! I thought Masterpiece had done a fabulous job with this series!!:)

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    1. I think you'd enjoy them Kelli! I hope you get to read them sometime :)

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  33. These books sounds really great. Sadly I haven't watched the tv series just yet. Thanks for the giveaway and Good luck to everyone.
    betta_grl(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I haven't seen it yet either Nicole, but it seems as though it's been a great success. Good luck in the giveaway.

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  34. Hi, I love the series, Ross Poldark and the love triangle of he, Elizabeth and Demelza. Cannot wait till next year for the series to continue. Maureen

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  35. haven't seen this

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  36. my daughter & I love Sunday nights watching PBS, this show is amazing and we look forward to next season-it can't come soon enough!

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