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!