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Comments for Jalna

Jalna: 10/01/14

cover art

Sometime within my life time, there was a cultural shift from reading books in a series in publication order to reading them in narrative chronology. The first series I remember noticing the shift was with the Chronicles of Narnia. Now it's The Whiteoak Chronicles by Mazo de la Roche. Perhaps here the lesson is to avoid series with the name "chronicles."

When there's a series that was published over years, possibly decades, I would prefer to read the books in the order in which they were published even if the narrative chronology is out of order. So this means I'm starting the Whiteoak Chronicles with Jalna.

Jalna is the manor home of the Whiteoaks, with grandmother Adeline as the matriarch. She is planning for her 100th birthday and she's not sure about the directions her grandchildren are taking. It's situated in the countryside just south of Ontario, and the Whiteoaks like their quiet life.

Except for the youngest generation; it's their unrest that drives the book. The chapters unfold as character sketches that set up events more thoroughly explored in in The Whiteoaks of Jalna. There's Eden, the poet, who wants to make it big in New York. There's Finch, the perpetually restless. There's Remy, the one who takes being a Whiteoak the most seriously. There's Wakefield, the baby of the family.

There are two marriages in in this book, one Adeline approves of and one that she doesn't. Her disapproval of it, as well as her expectation that even married couples live at Jalna, spells disaster, as one can expect.

It's a rather quiet book. There's a lot more bite to its sequel, The Whiteoaks of Jalna.

Order of Publication Chronological Order
Jalna The Building of Jalna
Whiteoaks Morning at Jalna
Finch's Fortune Mary Wakefield
The Master of Jalna Young Renny
Young Renny Whiteoak Heritage
Whiteoak Harvest The Whiteoak Brothers
Whiteoak Heritage Jalna
Wakefield's Course Whiteoaks of Jalna
The Building of Jalna Finch's Fortune
Return to Jalna The Master of Jalna
Mary Wakefield Whiteoak Harvest
Renny's Daughter Wakefield's Course
Variable winds at Jalna Return to Jalna
The Whiteoak Brothers Renny's Daughter
Centenary at Jalna Variable winds at Jalna
Morning at Jalna Centenary at Jalna

Three stars

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Comment #1: Sunday, October 05, 2014 at 16:37:35


This is a series I've wanted to read forever! I agree with you; I'm pretty much a stickler for reading series in the order the author wrote them. I figure that even if the timeframe is prior to other books, even the author didn't know what was going to happen until they wrote the book, so I shouldn't either.

Comment #2: Sunday, October 05, 2014 at 23:00:00


I think you should. The Whiteoak Chronicles strikes me as a series you would enjoy.

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