Poldark: Demelza

Written by Winston Graham
Review by Maggi de Rozario

The second part of the Poldark story continues five years later with Demelza, now married to Ross and the mother of his child, attempting to make her way in a society largely prejudiced against her impoverished working-class background. Ross has re-established his mine and is now working with others to form a copper company to overthrow the stranglehold which Warleggan’s bank has on the local mine owners. Interwoven with Ross and Demelza’s story are the tragic love triangle of Mark Daniel, his wayward wife and the local doctor; Verity’s difficult romance and the political and financial history of Cornwall in the late 18th century.

History lovers will be fascinated by the details of the fishing, mining and banking communities and their importance to the local economy, together with snippets about the wars in both America and France. The characters are so well described that the reader can envisage them immediately: greasy, slatternly Prudie; pompous, scheming George; shy, kindly Verity, all come alive in a way that shows a gift rare amongst authors.

Having first read, and enjoyed, these books in the 1970s I found re-reading to be an even greater pleasure and would thoroughly recommend them. They are a compelling need to know “what happens next” read, and I am sure these new editions will find a whole new generation of happy readers.