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January 2010: Ross Poldark by Winston Graham

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue March 9th, 2010, 5:50 am

I'm glad you liked it, Margaret! One of the beauties of Winston Graham's series is the real-life feel he gives his characters and situations. You almost feel he lived int 18th-century Cornwall himself.

I liked the pacing of Poldark, although sometimes I confess getting impatient as the economic ruin looms over everybody while he covers the frivolities of the gentry. The situation with Jemmy and his poaching rabbits to feed his family especially broke my heart.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Tue March 9th, 2010, 4:20 pm

There's a subtlety in the way Graham handles the poaching episode that makes it all the more heart-wrenching. Many, if not most, authors would have been more heavy-handed in their treatment of the contrasts between the gentry and the working class, and readers would have felt like we were getting a lesson shoved down our throats. With this episode in Ross Poldark, it feels like this is just the way things were. It seemed very real the way Ross goes out of his way to try to prevent Jim from having to go to prison, and then fails because he goes about it in the most straightforward way rather than pulling strings behind the scenes. Another thing that seemed very real is the way Ross never questions the system which outlaws poaching by a man trying to feed his family so that the gentry will have the maximum number of animals available when they want to enjoy the entertainment of the hunt. This is all portrayed in such a low-key way, the reader has to figure it out on his/her own instead of having it pointed out overtly.

There's an interesting problem of ethics in the way Ross goes about trying to get a pardon for Jim. In an ideal world, one would always handle things straightforwardly, the way Ross does. Is it right to go behind the scenes to influence a judgment so as to prevent an injustice from occurring? Or does that have an insidious effect of perpetuating injustice in the long run?
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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Fri September 23rd, 2011, 4:43 pm

How did I forget this was a BotM? Well, I recently finished it and enjoyed it. I like how it was written very straight-forwardly. Winston Graham makes it seem easy, you hardly notice the writing itself and it's not over-embellished or trying too hard.


[quote=""Margaret""]There's an interesting problem of ethics in the way Ross goes about trying to get a pardon for Jim. In an ideal world, one would always handle things straightforwardly, the way Ross does. Is it right to go behind the scenes to influence a judgment so as to prevent an injustice from occurring? Or does that have an insidious effect of perpetuating injustice in the long run?[/quote]

Very interesting food for thought.

I did wonder how today's audience would perceive Ross who takes in a young girl of thirteen and later marries her. I doubt too much has changed between now and then in how people will inevitably start rumors and view that kind of living situation, regardless of how it started and when it began to turn into something else.
Last edited by Ludmilla on Fri September 23rd, 2011, 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Harold Titus
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Post by Harold Titus » Mon May 14th, 2012, 5:29 am

A wonderful series of books starting with "Ross Poldark." I've read them all twice and the first six books again this past year. So many things that Windston Graham is able to do. For one, I'm impressed with how well he seems to portray the thoughts and emotions of women, an uncommon accomplishment for a male author.
Harold Titus
Author, "Crossing the River" (Sept. 2011)
http:booklocker.com/books/5692.html

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