Monday, 27 July 2015

THE POLDARK SAGA - MY REVIEW OF BOOK 1 + GRAND GIVEAWAY

I blame Ross Poldark for ...

I hadn’t read any of the books from the Poldark saga before the new adaptation started on BBC1, though I had been totally smitten by the original series back in the 70s. I was just a kid who was beginning to learn English as a foreign language at school at that time and my love for everything British is,  for sure,  a result of Robin Ellis’s good looks and Ross Poldark’s charm as a character. My interest in Jane Austen's novels came soon after.

However, I bought the first 2 Poldark books when the remake was announced in the press. I decided I wanted to read them,  to compare them to their adaptation in the upcoming TV series.

You know, that’s one of my favourite passtimes! 


Synopsis of Book 1 - Ross Poldark

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.

The hero


“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. Except that he no longer whistled into the wind or talked to his irritable mare, there was nothing to show.”


(pictures: Robin Ellis and Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark

Respect to other 18th century gentlemen, Ross Poldark is quite the restless Romantic type and very little the well-mannered Austen hero. As a matter of fact, being Ross a gentleman of the Georgian Era, his good manners may be well considered flawed.
He is a living contradiction - as alive as a literary character can be - in so many aspects. He is generous and passionate, has a huge sense of honour and dignity. Anyhow,  his impulsiveness, rebelliousness, anticonformism, pride and moody temper distance him from other literary gentlemen of his time. 

He puts himself in awkward situations to defend weak and poor people, he dares become an outcast and be banned by his peers marrying quite below his social rank. He is introverted and grumpy at times, he may be really rough but he may also be truly  kind.  You can always count on his honesty and  his loyalty but don’t expect  him to be polite or diplomatic.  He can love a woman deeply and passionately but, to be precise,   he may love deeply and passionately two women at the same time. 

His benevolence and his inner turmoil make him the complex fascinating hero that has become a cult through several decades. 

The heroine

“How old are you?” “Thirteen…sur.” It was the first time she had sirred him. He might have known that these undersized, half-starved waifs were always older than they looked.” 


(pictures: Angharad Rees and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza)

Demelza is not an 18th century model heroine either.  She reminds me more of resourceful, lively, smart female Shakespearean characters like Viola (Twelfth Night),  Rosalind (As You Like It) or Portia (The Merchant of Venice). Maybe I’m influenced by the fact that her journey starts in the street disguised as a boy  and ends up winning the love of  the man she loves, or better she worships and adores but who is far above her station. In the narrative arcs of the three Elizabethan characters I mentioned before,   there are both disguises as boys and final happy marriages,  but what Demelza embodies of them is their liveliness and enterprising spirit  which,  added to her own disarming spontaneity,  make her a very special character. She will conquer all her rivals one by one. She will charm them with her many talents and her generosity. None of her enemies or detractors will resist for long the temptation to admire her.  How could readers not love her?


 Narrative style and …discoveries

Winston Graham's lacks Jane Austen's irony or  Georgette Heyer's vivacity, but his Poldark saga can  be truly appreciated by fans of both writers.

Winston Graham’s strengths are characterization and dialogue. What goes lost for the lack of detailed descriptive passages is compensated for by vivacious portrayals of the characters and psychological insight.
The characters just take life and comes out of the pages and you see them move and interact so vividly in your mind. I don’t think the screenwriters had a tough task while adapting this material. 

By the way, this was not  at all a dull reading due to the fact that I already knew most of the story! I was surprised and intrigued and read it in a very short time. 

What surprised me most was that ...

1) It was written in a simple narrative style, it was fast-paced,   which resulted helpful and pleasant   

2) The 70s TV series I loved so much had taken many liberties from the original book,  while the new one was following them much more

3)  Though I already knew the story, I could enjoy the book greatly, especially while watching the TV series, because that gave both activities greater in – depth

4) Hear, hear! The book climax was the most unromantic, disappointing-though-eagerly-expected  mixed-class marriage of all times

So if you've seen the TV series -  the old or the new one - don't think you don't need to read the books. That would be a great mistake. Moreover, this is the perfect time: they are ideal summer reads!

About the author

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.

The Poldark Blog Tour

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.

The Grand Giveaway Contest

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:


(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!
               

                

34 comments:

tgruy said...

I think this sounds pretty interesting. Here's to hoping I get to read it.

Carol L. said...

Thank you for that wonderful review. I love this series but have yet to read the books. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity by being part of the Tour.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Caryl Kane said...

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

Elizabeth said...

Great thoughts! I'm loving the new TV series... so glad it's introduced me to these stories! Looking forward to reading the books soon too! :)

denise smith said...

really great review i am loving the show i bought the dvd from pbs thanks so much for the chance

Kim Amundsen said...

Nice review. Need to put this in my to read file.

Samantha Endres said...

Love the review! I need to read these now...

Samantha Endres said...

Love the review! I need to read these now...

Samantha Endres said...

Love the review! I need to read these now...

Felicia said...

I'm loving the show, now it's time to read the books!!

Sharon Neff said...

I enjoyed reading this review and from what little knowledge I have about the series at the moment, I can say I agree with this assessment!

Carla said...

I don't usually follow book tours but this one caught my eye. I am enjoying the Masterpiece series every week and hate to see it end. I didn't know it was based on books until now.
Thank you for the chance to win the books or gifts. It was interesting to read your thoughts on Ross and Demelza. I had not seen a photo of the original Ross before.
cjay (at) iavalley (dot)edu

Susan Heim said...

I really enjoyed reading your comparisons between the two TV series and the book series. I've been watching the new TV series and can't wait to read the books!

gambit78 said...

loving the series! So glad I have a summer show to get hooked onto

osoordinary said...

Great choice to show 70s actors and current actors! I'm excited to learn that even those who don't care for Demelza will in time! Great review!

Cali Willette said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I love the review too. I have been watching Poldark and I love the series. :)
caliwillette(at)gmail(dot)com

Sonja said...

Looks sooo very intriguing! Would love to read this! sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

Catwoman said...

I am so thrilled with the series but never knew there was books. Books are always better the TV or movies for me. Hope I win!!

Terry said...

I am loving the series on PBS and can't wait to delve into the books. Thanks for your wonderful review.

tmrtini at gmail) dot) com)

Theresa M said...

Thanks for your review. I want to read these books too!

Patty Edmisson said...

I have been very impressed with the series. I am looking forward to reading this series. The grand prize is awesome!

Starburst Red said...

I cant wait to read the book. I love starting with books first then diving into the series! Plus, I have always wanted to own a tea set so I think this might be my first purchase!

Thank you for introducing me to this!

dstoutholcomb said...

Love the review! I love this Poldark series, too! I'll have to get the books at some point.

Denise

BeckyC said...

Thank you for being a stop in the blog tour. Great post. I am loving this series and look forward to reading all the books.

Bookfool said...

I've got a copy of the 70s version on DVD, which I'll finish when the PBS season ends. It's interesting to see the two actors side-by-side. Our new Ross looks so much younger!

Having just finished Pamela, I can't wait to see what you mean about Ross's temperament. Samuel Richardson's hero was a bit of a temperamental jerk. If I had a copy of Poldark, I'd be relieved to read about a hero who is generous rather than selfish, right about now. But, I'll have to wait. *sigh*

Michelle F. said...

The grand prize is great. I'm sure the books are interesting.
catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

ema2boys said...

The books are always better ... Though in this case, they add dimension to the new show. Graham is a very good writer. Hoping all the novels in the series (there are 12) get re-published in the U.S.

Deborah Ann said...

Love your review. It makes me want to read the books even more.

V.E. Ulett said...

Great review. I loved the first four books when I read them years ago.

Sweet William Primitives said...

Loved the show! Can't wait to read the books!

Ashley Kolpak said...

Thanks for the giveaway, really want to read the books!
cricketlady29@hotmail.com

Miosotis said...

Great Review and awesome giveaway! I love watching the series, can't wait to get copy of the book to really enjoy it!

Laurie Melchionne said...

The show is so addicting so now i really want to read the books! Thanks for posting this great giveaway!

Jennifer Essad said...

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!