Artifact of the Week: Jalna

The novel Jalna was written by Newmarket author Mazo de la Roche. It was later published in 1927, after winning a $10,000 prize in Atlantic Monthly magazine for the best novel of the year. It became an instant bestseller, leading to an additional 15 novels in the series.

The Jalna Series, also known as the Whiteoak Chronicles revolves around the lives of the Whiteoak family from 1854-1954. Although this novel was the first to be published, Roche wrote and published 6 prequel novels, starting from the construction of the house known as Jalna.

In total the published works of Mazo de la Roche included 22 novels, 1 novella, 5 stage plays, 2 children’s books, a history of Quebec, an autobiography and 50 children’s stories. Roche died on July 12th 1961 in Toronto, at the age of 82. She is buried near St. George’s Anglican Church at Sibbald Point (near Sutton, Ontario).

We believe this book was given as a Christmas gift from Horace (Holly) Hillary to his sister Mary or his wife Mary. The inscription on the inside cover reads: “Mary, with best Xmas wishes From Holly Xmas 1928.”