Again I had difficulty separating this novel from the Masterpiece series televised a few months ago, which covered the first two of the Poldark novels. The focus of this novel is Demelza Poldark, the kitchen maid whom Ross Poldark married at the end of the first novel.
At the beginning of the novel, Demelza is in labor with the couple’s daughter Julia. Ross has engaged Dr. Choake, who takes the situation more casually than Ross would like. The doctor checks Demelza and goes away, saying she won’t deliver until the next afternoon. But Julia arrives before the doctor does, and Ross makes yet another enemy of his own class.
Demelza has come to believe that Ross’s gentle cousin Verity should have been allowed to marry Captain Blamey. She sees Verity’s sadness and feels she has aged ten years in only a few. So, without Ross’s knowledge, she begins plotting to draw them together.
Ross is striving to avoid the Warleggans’ financial takeover of the whole district. He is pressured to take the lead in forming a business to purchase and smelt copper in an effort to bring up the price of copper for the mine owners, as smelters are bidding low to keep the profit in their own pockets. Since several of the business partners are in debt to the Warleggans, they are concerned to keep their participation secret. However, the secret comes out, in a way that destroys Ross’s relationship with his cousin Francis.
Since the Masterpiece series so closely follows the books, it will not be until I read the third book that I will be able to tell how well the book series stands on its own. However, it seems well grounded historically and is particularly interesting when dealing with the problems of ordinary people of the time, when poverty was threatening many. I also like Ross and Demelza and feel sympathy with their struggles.