Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Jalna Books

My mother, when I was a teenager, introduced me to the Jalna books.  No doubt she suggested I read the book called JALNA first, which actually appears 7th chronologically in the series of 16 Jalna books.  This book was the first one that Canadian author Mazo de la Roche wrote.  It was received with much fanfare in acclaim in 1927, when it was published.  Then de la Roche went on to write, in no particular order, books that preceded and followed the original one.  Once I was hooked by this book, I went back and read the books in order, from THE BUILDING OF JALNA to CENTENARY AT JALNA.

It is believed, however, that de la Roche had the entire saga in mind before she wrote the first book!  Why she wrote them in such a random order is not clear.  Maybe it was just more fun that way.  There have been two movies and one mini-series based on the book, but I've not seen any of these.

When my daughter Kathy was a teen, I suggested to her that she read the books, and she became as devoted to them as I had been and as her grandmother before her had been.  Some years ago Kathy began searching used bookstores and online for copies of the various Jalna books.  She found quite a number, and for awhile, each birthday or Mother's Day, she would send me one of the books.  I have just finished re-reading JALNA.  On the inside cover is written:  "1999.  Happy Birthday, Mom, with lots of memories and much love, Kathy."

Lately I've been drawn back to these books and have been re-reading all of them, in a rather haphazard order.  I've probably re-read some six or eight of the sixteen books.  There is no doubt that this first
one--first to be written but not first chronologically--is the most dramatic and gripping.

 It is a way I can relive a wonderful connection to Kathy, a happy one, and to relive my delight in her gifts to me.  No, she didn't find all 16, but after she must have forgotten about her pursuit of them, I began looking for books to fill in the gaps.  My beloved daughter, with lots of memories and much love, I am re-reading these books for both of us.

I am today ordering used copies of JALNA and I plan to send them to my three devoted emailing friends who live at a distance from me--in Arkansas, Missouri, and Masssachusetts.  So I've spoiled your surprise, dear friends, but now you'll have a bit of history to go with the book, when it arrives!  Enjoy--and I send the book to each of you with lots of memories and much love!  Yes, it's a bit like a soap opera--a lot like a soap!  But very well written with wonderfully drawn characters and a plot that keeps you riveted!


  1. Oh I am SOOOO excited. My first thought on reading the first sentence was that I somehow forgot to look these up at Amazon so I could see why you love them so. And NOW it is ok if I forget again, and I can anticipate the excitement of their arrival. Thank you so much, dear friend. I can't imagine what they are like, but I will dive right in when they or it arrives. I think it special to read books that we find at our child's home or that they recommend to us. But especially, this linkage with Kathy is very sweet. Thank you very much!

  2. I am looking forward to reading this book. It comes at the right time as I have been wishing for a good book to read in between books I'm 'supposed to' read. Thank you, thank you, dear girl. NM

  3. Alice, what a special FRIEND you are. Thank you so much for sending the book. I can hardly wait to get it! I love the connection between you and your mother and you and Kathy. In fact, I got chills as I read your blog and then looked at the books - the pictures. Once again, we Lynnists have a bond that holds us together. This happens often, but what a delightful gift you've given. ss