Poldark is a series of historical novels by Winston Graham. They have been adapted to the television screen twice by the BBC, with Poldark airing in 1975 and 1977 and a new version, also called Poldark, beginning in 2015.
The main character, Ross Poldark, a British Army officer, returns to his home in Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War only to find that his fiancée, Elizabeth Chynoweth, having believed him dead, is about to marry his cousin, Francis Poldark. Ross attempts to restore his own fortunes by reopening one of the family’s tin mines. After several years he marries Demelza Carne, a servant girl, and is gradually reconciled to the loss of Elizabeth’s love. By then, Elizabeth has become a widow and marries George Warleggan, Ross’s arch-enemy.
There are a total of twelve novels. The first seven novels are set in the 18th century, until Christmas 1799. The remaining five are concerned with the early years of the 19th century and the lives of the children of the main characters of the previous novels. Winston Graham wrote the first four Poldark books during the 1940s and 1950s. Following a long hiatus, he decided to resume the series, and The Black Moon was published in 1973.
Love lost and found
Ross Poldark never really recovers from losing Elizabeth, although he finds himself liking her less over the years. She tells him early on that she should never have married Francis, implying that he, Ross, was the one for her. He has to know that for years. When Francis dies, the widowed Elizabeth promises to marry George, and she starts a sequence of events that will ultimately destroy her. Demelza is never less than sure about her feelings for Ross, even when his actions test her loyalties to the limit.
She develops feelings for another man later in the 7th novel, and this relationship almost destroys what she has with Ross. Verity and Andrew are brought together by Demelza after a long separation. Ross must pay dearly for that happy ending. The theme of enduring love is a recurrent one throughout the novels, and Demelza’s brother Drake endures a tragic love affair with Elizabeth’s cousin Morwenna (which, after incredible misery, culminates in marriage).
Dwight and Caroline separate because of a misunderstanding and find each other when Dwight is near death after imprisonment in France. They separate again several times during the course of the books but always find each other again.
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