When reading this novel, it is easy to understand why it was adapted twice for the screen. The storytelling is highly entertaining and fast paced, and is supported by a fine cast of characters. I love grouchy, crusty characters and Jud Painter with his “wife” Prudie are among the best I have encountered.
Though the novel takes place over the course of four years, the time isn’t dragged out. It flies by, though many changes have occurred that mark its passage. The most recognizable happens to Demelza, who’ s only thirteen at the novels outset. Graham has portrayed her well in this novel, especially in regards to her relationship with Ross. Their relationship is a natural and gradual progression, one that’s respectful to her age and place within his household over those four years.
In regards to Ross, one aspect of his character that’s most prominent is a certain dislike to leave unfinished business. This holds true to all aspects of his life, and I think it is what mainly supports his feelings for Elizabeth. It’s not so much love that drives his thoughts about her, but his inability to see the relationship through to its natural end.
Like Ross, his cousin Verity has also experienced loss, and the passage of time has not lessened it. There is a common thread of stubbornness that runs through the Poldarks, yet the reader is not repelled by it. On the contrary, Graham expertly uses it to draw in the reader’s sympathy for these characters, even when the reader shouldn’t. The protagonists and antagonists are equally intriguing and their various conflicts only make the reader want to read more.