Poldark on PBS Poldark's Cornwall
Historical fiction doesn't get any better than this. Written in the 1940s and '50s, the Poldark series continues to resonate in contemporary times with its tales of a returning war hero reinventing his life and rallying his country in the wake of devastation and loss. Ross Poldark makes a dashing hero and his world an inviting escape; and the windswept, sea-hugging Cornish countryside adds a splash of romance to the stories, which are peppered with dramatic clashes about morality, class and ego.

PBS's Masterpiece series follows the story-line of the books closely and truly captures the spirit of Winston Graham's characters and the stunning countryside. You will find much more about the Poldark series at PBS, including podcasts and information for book clubs.

Poldark on PBS In addition to the 12-book series, Winston Graham wrote a gorgeous illustrated companion volume, Poldark's Cornwall. This coffee table book is back in print with an introduction by Graham's son. For those who can't get enough of the TV series, we recommend The World of Poldark by Emma Marriott which is packed full of behind the scenes photos from the series and vistas of Cornwall.

If your appetite is whetted for more stories that whisk you away to a different era, BookBrowse--in response to a request from PBS's MASTERPIECE--suggests these titles that fit the bill.

The Bastard (The Kent Family Chronicles) The Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes

The Poldark series unfolds in 1783 with Ross returning from The American Revolutionary War and follows the family up until 1820. The eight-volume Kent Family Chronicles opens in 1770 in the lead-up to the same war, with young Philippe Kent off to seek his fortune in America. This phenomenally bestselling epic follows the Kent family through to the end of the 19th century against a backdrop of major historical events. First published between 1974 and 1980, most books remain in print from Signet, and in ebook. Series order: The Bastard, The Rebels, The Seekers, The Furies, The Titans, The Warriors, The Lawless, The Americans.
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The Proud Villeins (Bridges Over Time) (Volume 1) Bridges Over Time series by Valerie Anand

The Norman Conquest of England in the 11th century serves as the launchpad for this sprawling family saga that follows the fortunes of a Norman knight who is enslaved and fights for his freedom, and that of his descendants, through the centuries. The churn of history washes the family's fortunes into high tides and low, lending the entire series a sweeping and epic bird's eye view. First published between 1990 and 1995, the series is available in print and ebook. Series Order: The Proud Villeins, The Ruthless Yeoman, Women of Ashdon, The Faithful Lovers, The Cherished Wives, The Dowerless Sisters.
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The Forsyte Saga The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

The Forsytes might be rich but in late nineteenth-century England class matters just as much. Just a couple of generations removed from their agrarian roots, the members of this nouveau-riche family find that money doesn't guarantee you mobility and that your personal history shapes and molds your future in unexpected ways. The three books in this series written between 1906-1921 (The Man of Property, The Chancery, To Let) offer an excellent peek at high society spit and polish. Galsworthy won the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature"for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga". You can acquire the series in a number of print formats or as a free Kindle download.
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Pillars of the Earth Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Take a trip to bawdy England in the Middle Ages with the master of drama and suspense. The building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England, in the mid-12th century doesn't exactly sound like the stuff of high-wattage storylines but this novel proves otherwise. Bonus points to Follett for expertly tracing the evolution of Gothic architecture. The Pillars of the Earth was first published by William Morrow in 1989 and was continued in World Without End (2007) set two centuries later. The trilogy is due to complete with A Column of Fire, provisionally scheduled for publication in late 2017.
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Outlander Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

Claire Randall is a 20th-century British nurse reunited with the man of her dreams after the Second World War, but life has other plans. Traveling to Scotland with her husband, she stumbles upon an archaeological artifact that magically transports her to the eighteenth century. Suddenly Claire has the attentions of the dashing James Fraser, a young Scots warrior, and she must choose between fidelity and wild adventure. The first volume was published in 1991 by Delacorte. The series of eight books will give you plenty of lively material for a while, with the potential of more to come. Series to date: Cross Stitch (aka Outlander), Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, Written in My Own Heart's Blood. The provisional title of the next volume is Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, publication date not yet announced.
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Cane River Cane River by Lalita Tademy

Smaller in scale than some of the previous series mentioned here, this novel published in 2001 by Warner Books, along with its sister Red River (2007), is more intimate in scope zooming in as it does on one African American family's fortunes in the Deep South. Loosely based on Talita Tademy's own family, this is proof that all history is personal.
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Penmarric Penmarric by Susan Howatch

A Gothic mansion on the cragged Cornish coastline is the star of this mesmerizing and delectable story about the uneven fortunes of the Castallacks, once a rich, landed family. Central to this 700+ page novel spanning the Victorian era to the Second World War, is the hero Mark Castallack, who finds that the inheritance he brings his bride Janna to will churn tempers and passions and threaten to fray the very fabric of his family's life. First published in 1971, it is available from Simon & Schuster.
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Frenchman's Creek Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier

The legendary Daphne du Maurier set many of her novels against the backdrop of her beloved Cornwall (where she vacationed as a child and lived as an adult). Frenchman's Creek (1941) charts the love affair between an English lady and a French pirate. The book's title is derived from du Maurier's own Cornish residence and the story is a strong starting point to dive into the work of this talented doyenne of fiction. It is readily available in multiple formats from many publishers.
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