Saturday, August 1, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway: Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall by Winston Graham

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.

Warning: Potential spoilers for those unfamiliar with Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, the book that precedes Demelza. 

Winston Graham’s story of Ross Poldark, his wife and the Cornwall society in which they live continues in the second volume of the series, Demelza. The narrative picks up not long after the conclusion of Poldark, in the spring of 1788. Demelza is giving birth to their first child, Ross continues to pursue his interests in the mining industry, and there are relationship entanglements abounding throughout the many levels of society. Although Ross and Demelza are now married, their life together shows no shortage of drama as they face challenges within their home as well as throughout their community.

As seen in Poldark, author Winston Graham’s writing is impeccable. His descriptions of the outlying areas as well as the minute details of his characters easily transport the reader into 18th century Cornwall, without becoming overly verbose or pedantic. While the majority of the novel is fairly serious in nature, he interjects humor now and again to bring some levity to his writing. There wasn’t as much of this found in Demelza, but a few laugh-out-loud moments did occur for this reader.

My enjoyment of Poldark was so strong, I’m not sure Demelza could have met or exceeded the same standard. There was a significant amount of time spent on Ross’s mining prospects, and while I am interested in that plotline, I could have had a bit less of it. I was also surprised at how much Elizabeth was set in the background for most of the story, save a particular episode near the end of the book. I enjoy the tension she brings to the Poldarks, and I hope to see more of her in the future. That being said, I did enjoy Demelza very much, and give it a hearty recommendation.

The multi-narrative technique in Poldark is repeated here, with Ross and Demelza at the center and myriad characters revolving around them in various ways. The other individuals in this cosmos bring a depth to the writing, showing us how the Poldarks’ lives are so interconnected to those around them. Although I have seen the 1970’s television version of this work, there were some issues I’d forgotten, making some particular deaths in the story become surprises all over again. Author Winston Graham does not shy away from writing appealing characters out of his novels. I was disappointed to see a number of them go.

Demelza seems to also have a bit more action than Poldark, if my recent memory serves me well. Drama that centers around deception, betrayal, murder, escape, plundering and gambling makes this an enjoyable read, keeping the chapters moving at a fast pace. Money, power and resources are not plentiful for all in this society, and this brings about several situations in which the resolutions are greatly anticipated. Indeed, by the conclusion of Demelza, there are still unresolved issues that remain open, and I must assume they will be addressed in the next volume of the series, Jeremy Poldark. And yes of course, I will be lining up to read that one as well. I have found a new favorite author, and his name is Winston Graham.

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.

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:

(1) DVD of Season One of Poldark (New addition to giveaway as of August 4th!)
(2) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers
(1) Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Plater by Johnson Brothersr
(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 and 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!

Comment Ideas (not required):

If you have a book that's been made into a movie or television program, do you prefer to watch the performance or read the book first? OR: Have you read more than one of the novels in the Poldark series, and if so, do you have a favorite?


July 06 - My Jane Austen Book Club (Preview)

July 07 - Booktalk & More (Excerpt)

July 08 - Reading, Writing, Working, Playing (Review)

July 09 - vvb32 Reads (Preview)

July 10 - The Paige Turner (Review)

July 10 - My Kids Led Me Back To P & P (Excerpt)

July 11 - Austenprose (Review)

July 12 Laura's Reviews (Preview)

July 13 Peeking Between the Pages (Review)

July 13 Reflections of a Book Addict (Preview)

July 14 Living Read Girl (Review)

July 15 Confessions of a Book Addict (Review)

July 16 vvb32 Reads (Review)

July 17 Paige Turner (Review)

July 18 Truth, Beauty, Freedom & Books (Preview)

July 19 Marie Antoinette’s Gossip Guide (Excerpt)

July 20 - Laura's Reviews (Review)

July 20 - The Calico Critic (Review)

July 21 So Little Time…So Much to Read (Excerpt)

July 21 Poof Books (Excerpt)

July 22 Babblings of a Bookworm (Review)

July 23 Austenprose (Review)

July 24 Peeking Between the Pages (Review)

July 25 My Love for Jane Austen (Excerpt)

July 25 Living Read Girl (Review)

July 26 Delighted Reader (Review)

July 27 My Jane Austen Book Club (Review)

July 27 Austenesque Reviews (Review)

July 27 Laura's Reviews (Review)

July 28 She Is Too Fond Of Books (Review)

July 29 English Historical Fiction Authors (Preview)

July 30 vvb32 Reads (Review)

July 30 Babblings of a Bookworm (Review)

July 31 CozyNookBks (Excerpt)

Aug 01 - The Calico Critic (Review)

Aug 01 More Agreeably Engaged (Review)

Aug 02 Scuffed Slippers Wormy Books (Review)

Aug 03 Romantic Historical Reviews (Review)

Aug 03 Psychotic State Book Reviews (Review)


  1. Looking forward to reading this series of books.

  2. Will check back for you review. Thank you for participating in the blog tour. I usually like to read the book before the movie but I have not read the Poldark novels yet and have already seen all episodes of Season One.

    1. Thanks for checking back, Sandy-- the review is up now. Hope you read at least the first two books. I really enjoyed them. As far as the new Poldark TV series, I've only seen Episode 1, so I need to catch up in that regard!

  3. I have not read or watched Poldard but I find it very interesting & will try to watch it soon..
    dkstevensneAT outlookD OTcOM

  4. I watched the original Poldark and am watching the current one. Now, I am interested in reading the books. I usually prefer books over movie or tv adaptations, but I do feel that the 1995 Pride and Prejudice does justice to the book.

  5. I'm excited to hear what you think of "Demelza." Hope it's as good as the first book in the series!

    1. Susan-- thanks for your interest in the review. Finally got it up today! I liked the first book more than the second, but Demelza is still very good. Can't wait to read Jeremy Poldark!

  6. I have enjoyed watching the Masterpiece show and hated to see it end tonight. As another of the blog reviewers said, the banter between Ross and Demelza has been fun. The love between them has grown so much, they are a team in the best way. I hope to get to read the books to get to know the characters more in-depth. Thank you for the chance to win this giveaway.

  7. Thank you for your reiview and the giveaway chance. I just love the series & Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark.
    Looking forward to reading the books as well.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  8. this is such a fantastic giveaway........thank you!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  9. I love the new series, and I now want to read the books, especially since I've heard a ton of details are left out.

    1. As much as I love movies, that's one thing I love even more about books-- there's time/space to have MORE!!

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

  11. I, too, like books that move at a fast pace and are filled with drama. Great review!

  12. Can't believe this season of the series has ended. Can't wait to delve into the books now.

  13. I loved the show and I want to read the books!

  14. This is awesome! I always prefer to read then watch! :D

  15. Wow! Love your word choices to describe Graham's writing! Yours is the first review I've come across that mentions how little Elizabeth appears in this book. I'm actually kind of excited about that. :) I've only seen the first two episodes of the new TV series, and I didn't care for Elizabeth. I'm excited for the opportunity to read these books. Thanks for being a stop on the tour. I'm happy to have found your blog!

  16. I've so enjoyed watching the series. The finale had me on the edge of my seat (and I think I could have used a Valium, it was so tense). I'm really looking forward to reading the books.

  17. Thanks for the review! I have been loving the series and have to not only add the books to my TBR pile but have to add Cornwall to my TBTT (to be traveled to) list as well.
    Thanks for the review.

  18. I usually find out about the tv adaptation of a book after i've watched it, and in my experience the outcome is always the opposite for me. I end up liking the tv adaptation sooo much better which is strange! But for Poldark, it's different. I've read excerpts and since the show has me so hooked, I really want to read the first two novels of which the show is based! Thanks for posting this great giveaway opportunity!

  19. Great review! I like the TV show! I need to read the books. :)

  20. This is my favorite new PBS series ... I loved watching it over the summer. Now I really want to read the books, too!

  21. nice review

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  22. 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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