This blog article discusses The Winston Graham Poldark series, that was created early in 1950. The novel was turned into a huge TV hit for BBC One between 2015 and 2017. This article will give you several interesting facts about the loved novel series.
The very first novel in the Poldark books, “Ross Poldark”, was released in the year 1945. The 12 novels (which is currently published as fifteen novels) are primarily set within Cornwall and Devon but also have settings located in London and Sussex between 1783 and 1820.
The inspiration came from the events in the seventeenth century Charles II who returned to the Cornish beach to recuperate from the aftermath of a battle.
In his books, Graham covers the decay of the old-fashioned society, the hardship and poverty of Cornwall’s miners, the decline of the rural lifestyle in general as well as other topics of social concern like sexual customs that were common in the time these novels were published.
I’ve found all of these books to be a fascinating to read.
- List of The Poldark Series by Winston Graham
- Ross Poldark, Book 1
- Demelza, Book 2
- Jeremy Poldark, Book 3
- Warleggan, Book 4
- The Black Moon, Book 5
- The Four Swans, Book 6
- The Angry Tide, Book 7
- Stranger of The Sea, Book 8
- The Miller’s Dance, Book 9
- The Loving Cup, Book 10
- The Twisted Sword, Book 11
- Bella Poldark, Book 12
- About the Author: Winston Graham
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List of The Poldark Series by Winston Graham
Ross Poldark (The Poldark Series, Book 1) — The prose is lovely even elegant, without being ostentatious or sloppy. Graham composes the characters, female as well as male, with a clear and compassionate perspective which reminds me to George Eliot.
There are some hints of historical events (the actions of the mad King George and the turmoil in France and elsewhere) and humor. However, the core of the story is the families of the noble and non-noble families of Cornwall.
We witness their courtships, their marriages, as well as their homes, and we go to the farms, mines, and oceans which they work in to earn their livelihoods. Graham’s ability as a writer, that I actually found myself interested in the section on mining copper.
In the first chapter of the novel—and also the opening episode from the TV series, Ross Poldark returns to Cornwall after fighting alongside the British during the American Revolution, only to discover his father’s body and his home in ruin and his girlfriend married to her cousin.
Ross is the father of a younger son and isn’t particularly concerned with the finer points of society or class, which makes him a likable persona for those with modern attitudes.
Ross is quick to learn, but his somewhat wild kitchen assistant Demelza is also a key part in the story and so do Elizabeth the former lover and Ross’s close relatives Verity as well as Francis.
The book and the television show are a perfect match. The stunning sceneries in the BBC production gave my reading pleasure even more vivid, and the book helps fill in specifics that the show is unable to skim through.
The book also allowed me to linger on the story for a bit longer, an addicting pleasure. After finishing the first novel, I began the second book in the series. Read More
“The thing that has always made these books stand out from the crowd is the way in which Winston Graham’s characters just overflow with humanity in all its forms.”
“This novel is so much about the characters living within its pages, the time period, and the setting of Cornwall… Definitely a must read for historical fiction fans and even for those just looking for a good story and series to sink into! Highly recommended!”
“Ross Poldark is an excellent book full of romance, adventure, and accurate depictions of the fallibilities of the human race.”
“If you are fan of historical fiction and Austen-like stories, you must check out Ross Poldark.”
Demelza (The Poldark Series, Book 2) — We are now in the sequel to this series. Ross Poldark is settled down in his home, is married and has a baby due set to appear in the story. Since the mines continue to accept very low copper prices it is imperative to do something about it because food is in short supply in the region and wages are not high. Mine owners aren’t making enough to maintain their businesses profitably.
When Poldark and others attempt to change this, there are efforts to stop this and make certain people wealthy through their cartels, which is still happening frequently today.
Winston Graham did meticulous research using real-life issues and events that awaited Cornwall at the time of its history. We can are told of things such as the consequences of a ship that is destroyed, as well as the different machinations of people who were who had power and money within the region.
In this article, you will see that there is a problem in the banking system, with the one that gives loans with very high rates of interest to people who are likely to be unable to pay the bills in comparison to a smaller one which operates more cautiously.
In light of the issues with the financial crisis we’ve seen over the last few years, this article is extremely relevant and illustrates that in many instances things haven’t changed in the least. The story is peppered by a sharpening of a card and adultery, and murder, even an elopement. We learn about the harsh conditions in prison.
In an era where illness was rampant, with little understanding of the root of the problem, we can see that the medical profession was not trained and the majority of doctors believed in remedies that did not work or helped to alleviate certain symptoms.
Similar to the first book, it will hold your attention and gives an insight into the past, which perhaps the characters did not know about. The plot is well-written and the writing is tight. The book reads quite real and is enjoyable to read. Read More
“I’ve read and reread this series of books on quite a few occasions and enjoyed every one.”
“All of Winston Graham’s Poldark novels are wonderful. I am reading them all for the second time.”
“I was so gratified the writing was as good as in the first book.”
Jeremy Poldark (The Poldark Series, Book 3) — In the third book of the Poldark Series, we have Ross as our main character. Ross is reaping the benefits of his good doings from the last book of his efforts to help the poor in the world – breaking into prison and removing Jim Carter. And later, his involvement in the salvaging of the ships that ran into the ground near Nampara.
In any case, Ross is arrested and placed on trial. As he’s done everything within his power to put officers’ teeth to the edge that are charged with sending him to trial, it’s difficult to see how he’ll be able to come out unharmed. It’s interesting that Demelza decides to travel around and advocate for Ross.
Although it’s unclear if her involvement plays a role in his eventual release from jail with no conviction, but her efforts were worth it and thought-provoking and provide the reader with an insight into the way Demelza is adjusting to her position in the upper class.
It seems that the Warleggans continue to perform their dirty work as they take every step to block Ross’s attempts to earn an income for his family, while also employing the most residents as they can.
In France, the revolution has started and Madame Guillotine is working that creates fear in the heart of English elite who tighten the rights of their citizens in the hope that the people of all classes rise up and take over their country of origin.
Dr. Dwight Enys’ character grows stronger every day when he does things for those who need his medical knowledge regardless of their place in life. We get to meet the new character Caroline Penvenen. She will eventually play a major part in the life of Dr. Enys as well as the Poldarks.
After that, Demelza gives birth to Ross’s first son named Jeremy Poldark – hence the title of the book. It’s evident that this series will be the world’s perspective as England gets closer towards conflict with France, and the activities related to Poldarks will be woven into the larger picture.
Poldarks will be woven into and around larger happenings in the world, which will add to an authentic historical perspective, but predominantly from the smaller life of the Poldark Family, who continue to live in the stunning, rugged coast and surroundings of Cornwall. Read More
“Spoilers if the reader has not read the previous novels in the series”
“Entertaining, nicely written, and no sleeze or bad language.”
“The writing is easy to follow, even the vernacular of the coalminers can be deciphered in context.”
Warleggan, (The Poldark Series, Book 4) — Warleggan is the fourth novel of a trilogy of 12 novels with Ross Poldark as the main protagonist. Winston Graham set the novels in 18th Century Cornwall after he visited the area, fell in love with it and decided to move to the area.
The novels are pretty exact as they were written in the period of the turbulent times that they’re written, and provide fantastic glimpses at the daily lives of the aristocracy and working class during the time when monarchies were replacing them with democracies. The characters are intricate and intriguing, as are the plot lines.
I adore Demelza I love the manner she loves Ross and her life, what she stands for and how she handles things, her determination and belief system. When Ross did what he did, nearly break my heart.
I was broken by her. I felt betrayed by Ross. I was a fan of Ross because of the individual who was a rebel, for being the one who assisted his hardworking and poor tenants. I understand that Elizabeth was his love, and was denied it, but what is the truth?
It was too much for him to endure to be betrayed by someone such as this. I’m sure his life wasn’t easy, and he was constantly fighting for his the survival of his family, but he did have an incredibly loving wife, a son and a home to call his own and people who loved him and admired his work ethic and confidence. It was a sad day. Read More
“I’m hooked now on the Poldark saga, and am working my way through the 12 books.”
“Loved this book! Winston Graham does a fabulous job with the characters.”
The Black Moon (The Poldark Series, Book 5) — In this book, the fifth in the Poldark series, a variety of new characters and storylines are introduced, however the characters that are familiar to us remain.
Even though Demelza appears less in this story than in the prior ones, she’s always there in Ross Ross’s thoughts. Ross is so familiar with her that she’s now his conscience whenever he’s struggling with a difficult decision.
When Ross Poldark’s ex-loved one has a baby boy with George Warleggan, the enemy of his, Ross must be confronted with the grief of losing her entire family.
However, they soon discover that her cousin is in love with her brother-in-law’s wife The two families are entangled in new and surprising ways. When the rivalry among Ross and George gets more intense and the families are forced to face the uncertain future.
With intrigue and mysteries Set against the romantic Cornwall setting, Winston Graham’s The Black Moon will pull you into the world of these two unforgettable families. Read More
The Four Swans (The Poldark Series, Book 6) — In the sixth novel of the famous Poldark series, Ross is faced with an entirely new battleground which involves the women who are interspersed in Ross’s own.
In this book, the sixth in the Poldark Saga, the four Swans are four women who’s lives are influenced by Ross: Demelza, Elizabeth, Caroline, and Morwenna. For a man who appears to be quite unaware of love other than his past lust for Elizabeth, Ross has an amazing romantic flair for the life and relationships of the other people!
This novel may fall more into the “romance” genre than the others, as a lot of men resign themselves to relationships they do not have, like Demelza’s Brothers Sam as well as Drake and the infatuated Hugh Armitage, yearning for the woman who helped save his life.
The author has numerous moments of reflection and deep reflections in the novel. The author quotes Hugh: “By giving love, you do not diminish it. Love only adds to itself, it never destroys. Tenderness is not like money; the more you give to one the more you have for others.”
According to Ross: “No man wants his wife to be a woman that other men don’t desire…. But every man wants his wife to be a woman that other men don’t get.”
The life of these people (Ross, Demelza, George, Elizabeth, Drake, Sam, Dwight, Caroline, Morwenna, Osborne) is the ongoing Napoleonic conflict and the civil strife in England for the poor. The rivalry among Ross and George continues to force both men to take steps to compete with each one. Read More
“This is a saga that you never want to end.”
“As with the earlier novels in the series, this is descriptively and excellently written.”
The Angry Tide (The Poldark Series, Book 7) — The Poldark circle has grown larger with each installment however, the universe starts to shrink here in the seventh chapter. It’s a wild adventure! The story takes us through emotions of sadness, joy anger, vengeance redemption, karma and hate, friendship, love and regret, as well as fear, despair, and development.
The reader is given a greater understanding of George Warleggan’s life and although it could inspire admiration, it doesn’t provide anything that we can admire about his character.
I was impressed by the way the author dragged us along throughout the series with the question that we might think that we have the answers however, he finally tells us the truth in a manner that is as if it’s that is only shared between him and the reader.
As a historical fiction, the daily life during the latter 18th century is described, however the author is also able to incorporate “current events” of the time. While it is not the main theme of the tale, Winston Graham weaves in some information about the British economy and the government, as well as the effects of the wars between the French.
Through the principal character, the doctor Dwight Enys, we gain an understanding of the medical wisdom as well as the practices used in that time and learn about some advancements that were being developed at the time. Read More
“This series just keeps getting better.”
“I am now thoroughly enjoying the books that the series was based on.”
“Another great installment in the Poldark series. Each one seems better than the last.”
The Stranger from the Sea (The Poldark Series, Book 8) — The Stranger from the Sea is the eighth volume in the 12 volume series about The life and times of Captain Ross Poldark. The books are set in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century Cornwall in the Napoleonic period.
In this book, we discover that Ross was in Portugal fighting alongside his Duke of Wellington’s troops against those of Revolutionary France. In Cornwall, we witness George Warleggan the widower courting an aristocratic young lady.
The younger children of Polkdark Clowance as well as Jeremy are in court. Ross as well as Demelza are middle-aged however they’re still attracted as they watch their families expand. New character Stephen Carrington provides adventures on the ocean with his smuggling ventures. Stephen Carrington is a young romantic Byronic character.
The Poldark volumes offer fascinating glimpses into the life of Great Britain during the Napoleonic period. They also provide a broad variety of characters that are fascinating human beings. Winston Graham is a fine writer.
When you’ve finished the first novel in this wonderful series, you’ll be fascinated! Read More
“Among modern writers of historical fiction and fact based fiction, Winston Graham has no equal.”
The Miller’s Dance (The Poldark Series, Book 9) — The Poldarks are back with a brand new story that follows on from the last book. The story is set with Jeremy and Clowance and Clowance both together, they will they be married to the man of their dreams or is there problems to come, and will the squabble with the Warleggans go on?
The Napoleonic armies are to the retreat of Portugal and Spain and Portugal, there’s an the possibility of a devastating defeat in Russia however, can the Emperor be slain?
A wedding and a birth, as well as an offense that’s well-thought-out and bold, there’s plenty to be able to comprehend this time around, and there’s an underlying political issue to take into consideration.
With Ross declaring that he will retire at the next election, does actually occur, or will he be convinced, or believe the political life of his needs to continue? Like all other novels in this series, it’s an enjoyable read that will take readers back to the past and also to the beautiful county of Cornwall.
In addition, there is the mention of Luddites and debates regarding Catholic Emancipation, this novel is set in the proper historical and cultural the right context. Read More
“There is a considerable amount of information about the Napoleonic war and the politics of the time which are interesting.”
“Such brilliantly written characters drew me into the story and had me turning the pages.”
The Loving Cup (The Poldark Series, Book 10) — The 10th Poldark book in the Poldark series begins in 1813, when Geoffrey Charles returns to Cornwall in the middle of June and with his youthful Spanish wife. In the meantime, as recovering from his war wounds, it’s still enough time to let his wife shine and catch up on the events that have occurred while the latter was away as well as to win Trenwith to George.
The novel is filled with romance and drama. Love is all around quite in a way. With Stephen being back in Cornwall will a heart be ablaze? And who else can experience similar feelings when this novel comes to an end?
George Warleggan is still having his battle between his fellow Poldarks simmering, the author is on the lookout for the culprits behind the bold robbery that was featured in the previous novel, but what kind of success, you’ll must read and discover.
In this book series, we’ve come to know certain characters well, and as the children grow older, they begin to get to know the younger characters more intimately, and we have two books to read.
They are set in an historical setting, the psychological basis of what people do is not just plausible but also reveals the limitations of the time.
As we look at the politics of the time and other wheeling and dealing, we are reminded that, just like today, if you’ve got an entrepreneurial mindset, you need to strike while you can if wish to succeed.
This book is just as exciting as the first book in the series. It’s an absolute pleasure to read. Read More
“I love how the author keeps us engaged with the original Poldarks but manages to equally engage us with the characters of their children and their relationships.”
“Winston Graham tells a great story, develops character with subtlety and depth, and really brings this time in England alive.”
The Twisted Sword (The Poldark Series, Book 11) — This is the eleventh book in a trilogy of twelve books about the Poldark family from Cornwall. This novel is set in 1815 and the Napoleonic conflict appears to be coming to an end. Then Ross Poldark and Demelza Poldark set towards Paris along with their youngest child, Isabella.
The novel is first where Isabella is featured more. However, Napoleon returns to France after having escaped from Elba. This sends Paris into chaos and some Poldarks are stranded at Waterloo and others are forced to flee to safety. The prospect of great sorrow is in the near future.
The characters are multi-dimensional and the author is a master storyteller who keeps the authenticity in time and place. Like every other novel series I am drawn to the pages. People who love good-written historical fiction will enjoy this collection of books. Read More
“What a great read. This is the 11th book in the Poldark series, and covers the period up to Waterloo, and its immediate aftermath.”
“This is a tear jerker full of both some of the happiest and worst times for the Poldark family.”
Bella Poldark (The Poldark Series, Book 12) — It’s incredible how the author manages to evoke many emotions in one book. I tried to savor this book in order to make it last, because it was the last book within the Poldark series.
In the event that Ross and George are now in age, does their old animosity be rekindled? How do Bella do in the world of singing talents? In the case of what we now consider a serial killer preying upon women from Cornwall and elsewhere, who will be next ? And can the perpetrators be identified or arrested?
There’s a lot of action in this novel as well as action, murder, melodrama and love. The characters in certain situations are faced with new and often novel situations, they must overcome obstacles along their path.
In a way, it’s unfortunate that the story will end, however, it ends in a satisfying way, though we will not know for sure what will take place to the young Henry.
In a way, that could be a positive choice, since we could think of him taking on family business in the event that Ross is gone. Read More
“It has been a joy to read the Poldark novels.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the world of Poldark having read all twelve books back to back.”
About the Author: Winston Graham
Winston Mawdsley Graham was an English novelist who was best recognized for his Poldark collection of novels that are set in Cornwall. His father, Albert Grime, was an incredibly successful tea importer as well as retailer.
His child, Winston, was born at 66 Langdale Road, Victoria Park, Manchester on 30 June 1908 at 8 a.m. When he was a young toddler, Winston contracted pneumonia and following medical advice, he was sent to an elementary school in the area instead of Manchester Grammar School that his father had planned for him.
When he reached 17 years old, young, Winston moved to Perranporth, Cornwall. He was aspired to become a writer since a young childhood, and after the loss of his father who was previously disabled by stroke, Winston was supported by his mother, who wrote his novels at home using longhand, and tried to publish them.
In his early years, Graham was an avid tennis player, and he kept track of the number of sets he played every day.
He was a resident of Perranporth between 1925 and 1959, before briefly moving to southern France in 1960 before he moved to East Sussex.
He was the Chairman of the Society of Authors and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was in 1983 made an officer of the Order of the British Empire.
All in all, this 12 books in the series have shown that they are not just readable, and has been an absolute pleasure to read about the Poldarks as well as their allies and foes.
Being in a period of amazing events were taking place in their midst, it’s enjoyable to read about how they deal with or take part in these events, as well as what their lives have been like.
It’s sad to see that some characters have passed away due to age and disease, and others due because of war and other circumstances.
I would suggest that if you decide to purchase these books, you should go through them in order, since they naturally develop through the years as the characters get older and their perspectives change with age.
You can visit Wikipedia to know more about the Poldark book series.
I am shocked to discover that I’d never ever read any of these novels before the new television series was launched, however I am happy that I purchased and read all of the Poldark series by Winston Graham, since they’ve been fascinating and enjoyable all the way through.