Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Archive for February, 2020

Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788 – 1790 (Poldark series #2)

Posted by nliakos on February 20, 2020

by Winston Graham (Sourcebooks 2015; original pub date 1946 by Werner Laurie, Ltd)

Much is included in this second volume of Winston Graham’s Novels of Cornwall. Ross and Demelza’s first child, Julia, is born; Demelza overcomes her shyness to make friends with Ross’s cousin Verity; the lazy Paynters disgrace themselves and are sent away; they are replaced by the Gimletts. Dwight Enys, the young doctor, makes his appearance. Miner Mark Daniel falls for and marries the flighty Keren, who soon begins to pursue the handsome doctor; this does not end well for anybody. Jim Carter, in prison for poaching, dies of a fever; Ross and Dwight break him out, but it is too late. Demelza attends her first fancy ball with the gentry and quite charms many of them; the same evening, Ross catches George Warleggan’s cousin Matthew Sanson cheating at cards. Ross and some others form the Carnmore Copper Company to better compete against the Warleggans. Demelza encourages Verity and Capt. Blamey to resume their romance; they elope, which results in Francis and Ross falling out. Francis, Elizabeth, and Geoffrey Charles come down with diphtheria (called the “putrid” or “malignant” throat), and Demelza, consumed by guilt over the wrong she believes she has done the family in encouraging Verity to follow Blamey, nurses them; she catches the illness and transmits it to Julia, who dies. In his grief for Julia, Ross encourages the starving miners and their wives to loot the Warleggans’ ship Queen Charlotte, wrecked in Nampara Cove in a storm. A second ship, theĀ Pride of Madras, returning from India with cargo, is also wrecked in the same storm, and looting and carousing ensue with over 1,000 villagers fighting over the cargo. Ross offers shelter to some of the survivors. Demelza begins her recovery, saying to Ross, “When something happens, . . . like what has just happened to us, it makes all our quarrels seem small and mean, as if we were quarreling when we hadn’t the right. Didn’t we ought to find all the friendship we can? . . . Can’t all our quarrels be buried and forgotten. . . .” A lesson we can all benefit from, though easily forgotten.

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Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783 – 1787

Posted by nliakos on February 4, 2020

by Winston Graham (original pub. date 1945; Sourcebooks, Inc. 2015)

Vicki and I have been watching all five seasons of Poldark. We’re presently in Season Three; we just watched Episode Two. And I’ve just read the first of Winston Graham’s twelve novels set in 18th-century Cornwall upon which the TV series was based. Ross Poldark returns to his native Cornwall from America, where he fought for the British in the American Revolutionary War, to find his father dead, his house in ruins, his family’s mine in dire straits, and his sweetheart about to marry his cousin. The first novel tells how he struggles to repair the house, open the mine, and begin life anew. He hires thirteen-year-old Demelza Carne as a scullery maid, and four or five years later marries her, although he can’t quite forget Elizabeth, his first love. In this first novel, we also meet the repulsive George Warleggan, whose hatred of Ross defies all reason; Francis, Ross’s spoiled cousin, who marries Elizabeth but mistreats her; and Verity, Francis’ sister, who has the misfortune to fall in love with a sea captain deemed unsuitable for her by her autocratic father Charles (who doesn’t last the novel). I’m afraid that’s all I am able to write. I very much enjoyed the book, but I am already so confused by watching the series and reading the book simultaneously that I can no longer be sure of what I have read and what I have seen.

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