Ross Poldark by Winston Graham - REVIEW
Ross Poldark (Poldark #1) by Winston Graham
Publication Date: 1945
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Tired from a grim war in America, Ross Poldark returns to his land and his family. But the joyful homecoming he has anticipated turns sour, for his father is dead, his estate is derelict and the girl he loves is engaged to his cousin.
But 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 . . .
Sometimes a short synopsis is too little to fully encompass what a story is about. This book, however, has a synopsis that’s just about right. It’s short, limited information, a little bit of intrigue, but also not a lot happening. That’s a lot of what this book was for me. Not actually ‘short’ as it felt like a very long, drawn out read. It gave a bit of interest with a few hints of plot points that end up being relatively anti-climatic. And there certainly is not a lot happening even though it spans about 5 years.
This is not the type of story that draws me in. It is essentially just day to day life of a man and those around him. If there was amazing character work, that may have save it for me since the plot was severely lacking, but that was not the case. No real character growth occurred during the story and I don’t think Graham really tried to include it to be honest. The characters at the start are essentially the same at the end and not particularly affected by the events (using the term very loosely) that take place.
I have a whole reading vlog going over my qualms which you can see here but it comes down to poor execution, poor story, poor plotting, and some very misplaced romance.
The only part of this story that I did enjoy was Ross’s character… for the most part. I liked his interactions with people and how he seemed like he had a good head on his shoulders with knowing when to speak up and when to shut up. When it comes to his relationship with Demelza though, everything is just wrong. I have read countless historical fiction so the idea of an older man and a younger woman is not a new concept and honestly not one I have had much issue with in the past as the women are written far more mature than their age usually sees. This was not the case with Demelza. First Ross meets her as a 13 year old child, he has her bathe and is there for it, then he proceeds to become a pseudo father figure and boss. Then when she is 17, they get together. Her mentality for her entire time with Ross is always the same - very childlike and uninformed. It honestly felt like a man taking advantage of a child and did not sit well with me in the slightest. I can’t see how this is a revered romantic pairing in literature.
Along with the ‘romance’, the writing itself just was not a style that I enjoy. While I may eventually watch the show to see a comparison, I won’t be continuing with reading the series.