Unlike many male authors, Graham understands the importance of female friendships but does not quite have a feel for how they work so like the other women in this book Demelza is rarely seen with the women we are told are her friends, but rather with Ross or in connection with him.
Her relationship with Verity is developed through Demelza’s enabling Verity to marry, which while it brings them close is not all such women would bond through: here, tellingly perhaps, the film series improves this pair as in Season 1 we have scenes of them as friends discussing their needs, pregnancies, attitudes (the film passes the Bechtel test).
He reads evenings (though what we are not told, alas, as that would be fun to see which 18th century texts Graham might pick for him) and often drinks, is more solitary than one might expect; she sits by his side, sewing, talking.
She walks, rides (sidesaddle), goes boating and fishes.
************************ , the novel, opens and closes on Demelza herself.
For a later reread and an outline of the book, see Demelza: A Young Lady’s Entrance into the World.
Far from skipped (common in nvoels), the pregnancy and childbirth are dwelt upon.
We are shown that the doctor’s remedy and his interference makes things worse. Ross does become indignant and insist the doctor come back, but luckily he keeps away, and Prudie, Ross’s woman servant, and the woman who partly brought Demelza up, and Verity, Ross’s cousin, who has become Demelza’s good friend, assist Mrs Zacky Martin (Jinny’s mother) who suddenly emerges as a woman with knowledge of childbirth.
(Novel 3) last night, and was delighted to find myself in yet another superb novel by this man. So here am I writing about the second novel to recommend, describe and say what is so good about this set of historical novels.
Even though I’ve now watched more than half-way through the first half of the second season (1977-78) of the mini-series, , and just loved the first season, I was surprised. Cover photo of the 1996 Pan Mac Millan edition of I am very fond of the heroine, recognize aspects of my feelings in her (engage with them): she is a lower class woman thrust into an environment where she does not fit easily and she feels (is made to feel) this daily; she is independent-minded (as so many say), acts on her own for her own existence: we do not see her as a wife much, in this book scarcely as a mother (though frequently pregnant three times thus far), but rather Ross’s mistress, sex partner (this is done discreetly), working with and for him for his causes (which I like) and his safety (which is hers), waiting for her revenant-adventurer (primarily she is at home).
Again this is deft historical fiction for we do not feel we are getting a treatise or information but experiencing childbirth as in a novel set today — only conditions are different.