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The Building of Jalna (Whiteoaks of Jalna #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  434 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
First published in 1944, The Building of Jalna is one of sixteen books in the Jalna series written by Canada's Mazo de la Roche. In The Building of Jalna, Adeline, an impulsive bride with an Irish temper, and her husband, Captain Whiteoak, select Lake Ontario as the site of their new home. De la Roche chronicles their trials and tribulations during the building of the hous ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published March 2nd 2009 by Dundurn (first published 1935)
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Tea Jovanović
Ovo je divan serijal od 16 naslova kanadske autorke koja se već smatra klasikom u Kanadi... Čitala sam je u tinejdžerskom uzrastu i bilo mi je veoma zabavno... Prosto nisam mogla da dočekam da u British Councel-u vrate s čitanja sledeći nastavak... Nažalost, nikada nije prevedena na srpski ili hrvatski...
I'll bet every public librarian of my era remembers the shelf full of books in the Jalna series. (They're still available in my library system; not at my library but scattered throughout with a title here and there.) That's what made us curious to read this first title chronologically (but published 20+ years into the series). It's a delightful read for anyone who enjoys old-fashioned family sagas. The heroine echoes Scarlet O'Hara in many ways, beautiful but willful, but her husband adores her. ...more
The heroine reminded me of Scarlet O'Hara, beautiful, forceful, spirited and spoiled. While I enjoyed reading this novel I found the writing a bit effusive; the author wrote with such emotionally bold strokes that it tended to make everything that happened seem to be of great import when in the actual flow of the story it wasn't. Not sure if I'll continue to seek out more books in this series or not.
Mar 15, 2012 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like plot, don't bother with THE BUILDING OF JALNA. There's little conflict here, since the story revolves around a young couple who are happily married, who have no money troubles and no other pressing worries worth mentioning. The book is episodic, featuring scenes in their lives before and after their relocation from the United Kingdom to Ontario, Canada.

However, as a whole the Jalna series is very compelling. It chronicles the history of the Whiteoak family from the early 1850's to t
Dec 02, 2008 Denis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The serie of the Jalna books (10 volumes or more?) remains for many French people a very beloved memory of childhood reading (although they were originally published in English, they seem to have been more popular in France than in the US). This epic saga of a Canadian family is like a house you used to go as a kid and are fond of, more because of nostalgic reasons than because the house is an architectural masterpiece. No one would argue that Mazo de la Roche was a great writer. But her charact ...more
Aug 01, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised by this three quarters of a century old book. It gave an entirely new perspective of the immigrant story! The Whiteoaks family immigrates with their Chippendale furniture and Asian carpets. They build a mansion on a hill with well paid labor. But the pleasure in the book is the humor. I chuckled! I don't remember the last time I chuckled. Adeline Whiteoaks would probably drive me nuts in real life, but she is a pleasure to read about. All of the characters were surpris ...more
An unexpected pleasure in this first of a 16 volume series. Follows Philip and Adeline from 1850s India to England to Ireland to Quebec to the wilds of Ontario. While there are hardships, plenty of money makes them all manageable. Love the little glimpses of what's in store for future generations. Interesting characters abound, and, while this by no means a comedy, there are some wonderful LOL moments.
Jo Marie
Aug 06, 2015 Jo Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite enjoyable story of a young British couple emigrating to Canada in the mid 1800s.
Jalna is one of those series that I have been meaning to read for years. During that time I have managed to collect all 16 novels, so I figured now would be the good time to start reading them. I chose to read them in chronological order rather than the publication order, because it seemed like the most logical thing to do.

This first novel (or prequel?) is more a collection of anecdotes than a story with one cohesive plotline. Adeline and her husband are not the most likeable people, but they ar
Jan 20, 2017 Séverine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
L'auteur pensait n'écrire qu'un seul tome de cette saga qui en compte finalement ... 16 ! Et je comprends les lecteurs qui ont réclamé la suite, car à la fin de ce tome-ci, on reste un peu sur sa faim.
C'est bien écrit, prenant. On s'attache à Adeline et aux autres personnages. On tremble pour eux, on se réjouit, ... Et tout au long de la construction de leur maison, Adeline répète comme elle imagine déjà sa descendance, les bonheurs et malheurs qui arriveront ici .... Pour finalement terminer le
Madeline Hoherd
Feb 15, 2017 Madeline Hoherd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jan 01, 2017 Phyllis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author was mentioned in a novel I read recently, so I checked out one of her books, which I had previously heard of but not read. This is the first in the series in chronology of characters and story, but not the first published. It's a welcome respite from issue and message novels in which the story is concocted to make some political or moral point. There is no real point here. The characters are vivid and quirky, far from idealized, and the action is never dramatic. Just when you think a ...more
Sep 29, 2016 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The kindle edition is riddled with typos -- sometimes more than one on each page. Very distracting.
Aug 04, 2011 Marlene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this because Lydia Davis had mentioned de la Roche's Jalna books as among her literary influences. Have to say I found it a bit of a slog, however. "The Building of Jalna" is the first book, chronologically, although it was not the first book published, and perhaps "Jalna" was more compelling. This one boils down to lovely, wealthy people to whom nothing terribly riveting happens as they establish their home and dynasty in Ontario, Canada. The author may have been striving to create somet ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Kurt rated it liked it
First in the series of well-known Canadian stories. The writing feels dated--well, because it was written about 50 years ago. The author keeps the reader at arm's length the whole time. It was good enough for me to try the second novel (of which I'm half-through). Though, I worry, it's a bit too staid to compete with the other items in my to-read list.

Luckily the pace is brisk. So quite a bit happens in each novel, it just doesn't get very intimate. Meaning, you don't really feel what the charac
Feb 29, 2012 K.l. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Possibly my favorite Jalna book! Even though it was written as a prequel (Jalna was the first book actually written) it is chronologically the first book in the series. I traces the travels of a young Captain Philip Whiteoak and his wife Adeline from their station in India, to England, Ireland, Quebec and finally Ontario where they build their house - Jalna.
We see Adeline's stubborness in ensuring that she give birth to her second son Ernest in the half completed house, her rage at a young girl
Grande série de 16 tomes écrite par une Canadienne anglaise. Histoire se déroulant dans la région des grands lacs de l'Ontario.
Chronique familiale. Chaque tome suit un des membres de la famille. Accent cependant sur Renny, le petit-fils de la propriétaire.
On suit la famille sur quatre générations. C'est un peu long, mais donne une vision de l'histoire ontarienne rurale de l'avant première guerre mondiale (et un peu après).
J'ai lu cette série à l'âge de 14 ans... Mamy et moi nous arrachions les
Oct 13, 2014 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read a few books of this series in high school. I thought it was about time that I read all of them. It was a series that both my Mom and my Grandma read, enjoyed, and shared with each other. I thought it'd be nice to be part of that legacy.

This first book was a little hard to get into, there were parts that had me really absorbed, but other parts had me a little bored. Why explain such minute details? I guess it was a different time, and different writing style. But it just kept lingering on.
Meg Ulmes
I decided to read the Jalna series this summer as a tribute to my Dad. He loved these novels and owned many of them. This is the first book in the series--and so of course it introduces all the main characters and the building of the house that will dominate the story. The Whiteoak family is at the core of the story with the married couple Phillip and Adeline starring as the main characters in this slim volume. I had a little trouble getting into the first hundred pages, but after I got intrigue ...more
Kathy  Petersen
The Jalna books are leftover from my early teenage years. I wondered if I'd like them now that I'm a somewhat cynical but at any rate non-romantic grown-up. Surprise, surprise: I was even tempted to give it five stars. However, The Building of Jalna is really just an ordinary novel, but written, I think, when more care was expanded on character development and general description, on solid writing, even on grammar and construction and propriety. I find all that too much of a rarity in current no ...more
In the 70's, these books were made into a series on Canadian TV. I was a young teenager and it must have been on past my bedtime, as I never did see it. But, I decided to read the books. These must be read in order, and I was taking them out of the library, so there were lots of delays. I eventually gave up trying to finish the series.

I recently found these as e books at my library and decided to read them again. I found that they have aged pretty well! Lots of drama between the characters, and
I expected this to be a more plot-driven novel. Many conflicts were set up, but then their resolutions were just glossed over. This was a good example of an author doing a lot more "telling" rather than "showing." Most of the book had that distant tone that authors use for flashbacks, which makes sense in a way, since this was written as a prequel. Maybe I shouldn't be trying to read the series in chronological order. I've already got the next one on the kindle, so I guess I'll give it a try. I ...more
Jill Bowman
Dec 01, 2016 Jill Bowman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Realistically if I were truly rating this book it might get a 3. I certainly don't want to put anyone off if they are skimming for stars! It's melodramatic and dated in many ways. But I've added to it because if I'd read it as a young teen I would have LOVED IT! It would've been right up my alley!! Multi generational with a feisty Irish lass. What more could a young girl ask!! I'll certainly be passing it on to my granddaughter when the time comes. Thanks Betsey for loaning it to me.
Dec 27, 2011 Aline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serie
I really enjoyed going back to Jalna. I read this serie when I was still quite young, about 11 years old, because two of my eldest sisters were reading it at the time. But, at the time, I didn't understand everything about the Whiteoaks' life in Canada or about the relationships between the main characters. Now that I'm older, I can appreciate the real value of this story.
What I will remember of it is the freedom that you can feel from page to page: the freedom of this new world, still quite sav
Sep 23, 2012 Anduine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This was the first family-saga i ever read. As a teenager i loved and devoured the books. Now I am rediscovering them and still find them very enchanting, but maybe that is my nostalgic point of view? For everybody expecting action, these books are not for you, as a matter of fact i would not even rank the series among top class novels, however if you are looking for good, solid, light fun entertainment, that does not lose it's charme over the years, you will not be disappointed
Michelle Lotter
Jun 03, 2014 Michelle Lotter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very old school way of writing. Very innocent period. I am so glad I finally got to start on this range of sixteen books. Quite interesting. Don't know whether the way the author wrote it fascinated me more than the books. They are seques but not written in any particular order. The auther, Mazo De La Roche had this story in her mind and wrote it over a period of thirty years. She started of with the fourth book and just wrote and added on as she felt. Amazing way of writing.
Jun 17, 2012 Alida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the series years ago. Every 2 weeks my sisters and I would eagerly look for the next instalment in the bookmobile that came near our home. I was a little leery to re-read a book I had good memories of but I enjoyed it all over again. I don't think these books would be for everyone since they're rather slow-paced. The Building of Jalna is the first chronologically in the 16 book series but was written as a prequel to several others.
Bryan Richard
I've wanted to start this series by a Canadian writer Mazo de la Roche, for a long time. I can remember when growing up in Toronto in the Beach, my mother used to always watch the Jalna tv series on CBC tv. I've just finished the first book in the series, "The Building of Jalna". Can't wait to get into the next book in the series. A great start at any rate.
Dec 09, 2012 Robyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i am returning to my book roots this was the first series of adult books that I read, I used to go toParramatta Library every week on the bus to get the next one. I was given 6 of the books for presents over the years. I have read the complete series only once but the 6 books I have read many times over.

Really enjoying reading the 16 books from my Kindle.
Jo Oehrlein
This is a re-read of a book (and series) that I read when I was growing up. This is book #1 in chronological order, but it was not published first. It very much has the feel of setting the stage, defining the characters and explaining how things started -- sort of a creation mythology for the series.

It's an enjoyable book, but not a great one.
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Mazo de la Roche, born Mazo Louise Roche, was the author of the Jalna novels, one of the most popular series of books of her time.

The Jalna series consists of sixteen novels that tell the story of the Canadian Whiteoak family from 1854 to 1954, although each of the novels can also be enjoyed as an independent story. In the world of the Whiteoaks, as in real life, people live and die, find success
More about Mazo de la Roche...

Other Books in the Series

Whiteoaks of Jalna (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Morning at Jalna (Whiteoaks Of Jalna, #2)
  • Mary Wakefield (Whiteoaks of Jalna, #3)
  • Young Renny (Whiteoaks of Jalna, #4)
  • Whiteoak Heritage (Whiteoaks of Jalna, #5)
  • Whiteoak Brothers (Whiteoaks of Jalna, #6)
  • Jalna (Whiteoaks of Jalna, #7)
  • Whiteoaks Of Jalna (Whiteoaks of Jalna, #8)
  • Finch's Fortune (Whiteoaks of Jalna, #9)
  • The Master of Jalna (Whiteoaks of Jalna, #10)
  • Whiteoak Harvest (Whiteoaks of Jalna, #11)

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