I will be the first to admit that when it comes to television I tend to live under a rock. But books…now that’s another story altogether. So where have I been since 1945 when Winston Graham penned Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787? Not yet born for some of those years, granted. But what is my excuse for the decades that followed? And even though I have never been a big fan of TV, the exception has always been the fabulous offerings of PBS, especially via BBC productions. I learned that the books had been produced for television back in the 1970s, like Upstairs Downstairs. It was a big hit. And yet…crickets chirping.
So when I heard, in a very casual way, that there was a new series coming to PBS in a few weeks called Poldark based on a series of books that have been around for quite some time, I did a little internet surfing. What I read did not particularly grab me: Ross Poldark, a British Army officer returns to Cornwall after having fought for the Crown in the Revolutionary War only to find his fiancé betrothed to his cousin and his family estate in ruins. “Oh. A romance novel,” I yawned deflated. Not exactly my cup of gin. Like a cherry on the top, the cover of the newly released book was even less appealing. I would not have been surprised to find Fabio on the cover. But I have great faith in the BBC and PBS. “So, where’s the trust?” I asked myself. The old adage is true: one really can’t judge a book by its cover. Or its blurbs.
I found a site that offered a sampling. I just love samples, don’t you? Yes, I do find them hard to pass up. Be it cheese cubes, tortilla chips, warm pralines, shrimp on a toothpick, it doesn’t seem to matter. Thinking “just a nibble,” I began with the prologue (yum) and read through the first chapter of the first volume (of which there are apparently 12). It was over all too soon. And as is the purpose of all good samples, when the “taste” was over I wanted more. I was hooked and thrown into the boat.
My plan was to run over to my favorite bookstore at lunch and grab a copy today. (oh joy) But a quick phone call confirmed they did not have it in stock. (oh groan) But since the order for today had not gone out (I called as soon as they opened), I could possibly have it in my mitts by Friday. (oh joy). Having thus assuaged my “bookie” conscience by buying from my independent bookstore first (because if they disappear I'll blame myself), I ordered the second volume, Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall 1788-1790 from Barnes & Noble, which I should receive by Monday at a fairly nice savings and free shipping.
If all goes as planned, when the series starts on Sunday, June 21, I’ll have consumed both volumes and be fully satiated, smugly able to sit back and judge the quality of the production, and fully anticipating the banquet of 10 more volumes to go!! I’ll try not to burp.