This past weekend most of us in the United States rolled back our clocks one hour for a change to standard time.
The change in time was also the occasion of the annual #FallBackinTime social media event staged by authors and fans of historical romance. Head over to Twitter or Instagram and check out the posts with that hashtag.
Escape to the past
Or stick around here, because I’m going to stretch the weekend event a bit longer and slip back to 18th century Cornwall and the series, Poldark.
I confess, I never viewed the 1970s version of this show, nor have I read the books by Winston Graham. Aidan Turner is my first Ross Poldark, the story’s hero, and he does an amazing job of portraying this stubborn, determined, independent-minded man of honor.
Eleanor Tomlinson is equally good as Demelza, the servant girl who becomes Ross’s wife, a match for him in strength and stubbornness.
Their romance isn’t the beginning and end of this story, though. Historyextra.com shared an article “Poldark’s Cornwall: the history behind the hit series” by historian Hannah Greig, one of the production’s advisors, discussing the social, political, and economic challenges of the era.
Ross struggles with many personal issues (and I’ll spare you the spoilers) but the great challenges involve his efforts to restore his family business, a copper mine. He faces a vicious banker determined to do whatever it takes to bring Ross down, bankrupting Ross’s relatives, corrupting the local government, and bribing witnesses.
The other main industry of Cornwall, smuggling, also has a place in the story. I’ve blogged before about smuggling during the Georgian era. Repressive taxation led (as it usually does) to a thriving black market. I’ll let you watch the show and see whether Ross is involved in free trading.
For fans of romance, there’s also a very nice romance subplot with Ross’s friend, Dr. Enys, played by Luke Norris, and a local heiress. Enys is a gentleman physician dedicated to serving the local people.
During the Gold Rush era, California gold mine owners imported Cornish miners, as I mentioned in a blog last year about the California Gold Rush. Mining has been a Cornish industry for hundreds of years. The mines (or Wheals, apparently from the Cornish word hwel) produced tin and copper.
An historic tin mine, a World Heritage Site, has been renamed Poldark Mine and is now a
tourist destination. Ross’s mining scenes are filmed inside the Poldark Mine.
If you haven’t watched this series, I’d highly recommend you start with Season One when Ross is serving as a Redcoat on the British side in the American Revolutionary War.
And, if you’ve read the books by Winston Graham, please chime in and let me know how this latest version compares. I usually find books are better than the films based on them and I’d love to know if I should add these to my To Be Read pile.
The IMDB site has over 200 pictures from the show, but I’ll leave you with this very popular one of Aidan Turner as Ross, getting ready to cut his grass:
Images: All Poldark images are from IMDB; Poldark mine, geography.org.uk via Wikimedia