💙 I read this for the Unapologetic Romance Readers' New Years 2018 Reading Challenge, for the category of: Literary Romance. For more info on this challenge, click here. 💙
I was curious about this book before the TV show came out, but the TV show made me even more curious. Aidan Turner is gorgeous, and it seemed like PBS was running with Ross Poldark to compete with Starz's Outlander, albeit without all the torture and rape. A Georgian-era romance set in Cornwall that transcends class and features an impoverished nobleman who cares a little too much about his tenants for society's liking? Hell yes!
ROSS POLDARK is not a very long book but it took me forever to read. In fact, I think it took me longer to read than OUTLANDER did, which is hilarious because OUTLANDER is twice as long (at least) as this book. The problem is the pacing - it is slow and plodding. I think part of that might be chalked up to the book's age; it was published in the 1940s and I think people were more willing to wait for a good thing back then. Now, access to internet and other technologies has shortened people's attention spans and increased the desire for instant gratification.
Ross Poldark, the eponymous hero, is part of the noble Poldark family. He has just returned from fighting in America - I'm guessing in what was the Revolutionary War - and has returned from Cornwall to find that the woman he was in love with has gotten engaged to his cousin instead. Morose, he turns to alcohol and the minding of the mine on his property, as well as the wellbeing of the people and their families who work in it. His care for his people is what prompts him to take in a girl, Demelza, from her abusive household and hire her on as his servant. It also prompts him to intervene when a man is caught poaching for his starving family.
There's some action in this book, but it's interspersed between long periods of nothing. I also didn't realize that this was going to be a guardian and ward romance, which I am sometimes into, but not when the ward begins the story as an actual child. I've expanded on my feelings about that more in other reviews, but basically I feel like it's a violation of a child's trust in a parental figure to turn that sort of relationship into a sexual one. The way that Verity's (Poldark's other cousin) relationship to a wife-beater is also portrayed in here wasn't great, either. I get that it's a different time and women were still considered chattel and beatings were only in poor taste if they were public or debilitating, but that doesn't make it any more pleasant to read about in the here and now (even off the page).
Overall, my feelings with this book are pretty lukewarm. It wasn't awful and I liked Ross Poldark, the cranky but well-meaning old drunk, but the story was boring and the writing didn't blow me away. I have books two and three on my Kindle so let's see if I can bring myself to get around to those later.
2.5 to 3 out of 5 stars