I have a problem. I’m obsessed with sexy historical shows and I just can’t quit. It started with Outlander, ramped up through Vikings, and crested along with Black Sails. It shows no signs of stopping, and honestly? I kind of don’t want it to. Especially when I get to watch shows as sexy and romantic as BBC One’s Poldark.
If you’ve ever had an obsession with history, great makeout sessions and class differences overcome by love, then Poldark is the show for you. Based on a series of novels first published by Winston Graham in 1945, the show follows Ross Poldark, a British officer during the American Revolution, who returns home to find his father dead and his fiancée about to marry his cousin. Needless to say, his life isn’t going very well until he meets Demelza, a wild and impoverished young woman who he hires as his kitchen maid. Soon the two are getting it on, then falling madly in love, all while Ross struggles to open and run his own mine. I won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say that the couple has gone through some major ups and downs in the first season, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Here’s last year’s trailer –- just try and not get goosebumps from all those longing glances:
The Poldark Novels, Winston Graham (Ballantine Books, 1945)
Graham wrote 12 Poldark novels (12!), with the final one published in 2002. The show just touches on the surface of the complicated and rich world that Graham creates, delving into themes of lost love, PTSD and class struggles. Demelza and Ross’s relationship is explored even further, describing the ups and downs of their long marriage (and there are plenty of ups and downs, believe me). If you’re as hooked on Poldark as I am, then do yourself a favor and pick up Graham’s epic series.
Because of Miss Bridgerton, Julia Quinn (Avon Books, March 29, 2016)
For those of us who are only invested in Poldark for the romance (NO JUDGEMENTS), then historical romance novels are a natural fit. Quinn’s latest, Because of Miss Bridgerton, tells the story of Billie Bridgerton, who grew up with the Rokesby brothers. Everyone assumes she’ll marry Edward or Andrew, her childhood friends. But it’s the oldest, Edward, who unexpectedly catches her eye – particularly as she’s always hated him. Like Ross and Demelza, love blossoms in unexpectedly places in Quinn’s newest romance.
Valiant Ambition, Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking Books, May 10, 2016)
Ross is a veteran of the American Revolution who fought on the side of the British. If you’re craving more Revolutionary War history (from the American point of view), then check out Philbrick’s latest nonfiction book about George Washington and his turbulent relationship with Benedict Arnold. Philbrick analyzes the years of the Revolution, and how Washington was able to persevere despite betrayals within his own army. Valiant Ambition will answer any questions you’ve ever had about America’s most famous traitor.
Into the Wilderness, Sara Donati (Bantam Books, 1998)
Set around the same time as Poldark, Donati’s epic historical series follows gentle Englishwoman Elizabeth Middleton as she embarks on a journey into the New York wilderness. She quickly finds that small town life in the wild is vastly different from the world she grew up in, especially when she falls hard for Nathaniel Booner, a man who was raised by both the white settlers of the town and the Mohawk people. But the wilderness is just as dangerous as it is exciting, and Elizabeth has to fight hard to hold onto her family and her love. Expect the same soul-wrenching romance that we see in Poldark, particularly as both Ross and Nathaniel struggle to leave old loves behind in order to discover the woman who’s truly perfect for them.