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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Set during the separation of Norway from Sweden in 1905, this richly detailed novel of love and loss was inspired by the life of the author's great-great-aunts.

Oleanna and her sister Elisabeth are the last of their family working their farm deep in the western fjordland. A new century has begun, and the world outside is changing, but in the Sunnfjord their world is as sma
Paperback, Second, 274 pages
Published January 23rd 2012
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  150 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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V.E. Ulett
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oleana is as insular and beautiful a novel as the Norway of the early twentieth century in which it is set. Like all good stories Oleanna is about many things, and this is a story not only of one young woman's experiences, but also of change, the consequences of our decisions, and about loss and grief. The novel tells a compelling tale that concludes in hope and the power of the place we call home. Highly recommended.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Oleanna" is a book about ordinary women, living on an isolated farm in the isolated western fjordlands of Norway. Oleanna and her sister Elisabeth and Torjus, Elisabeth's young son, are the last of their family living on their old family lands. The deaths of their parents and sisters, and the loss of their brothers to the lure of the American Dream, have left the sisters restless but tied to the land and their memories. The idea of people leaving and never returning is a constant theme in the b ...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
When this book ended, I contemplated flipping back to the start in order to begin again. I absolutely didn't want to leave the characters I had come to like so much.

Set in early 20th century Norway, this novel drew me in immediately with the heartbreaking story and quiet, intense characters. Oleanna and her sister Elizabeth are left on their isolated farm in southern Norway after their brother emigrates to the U.S. Already too familiar with loss -- tragic deaths, ended engagements, the absence o

dedication For Janis Terry Hunt Nelson

Norway National Day - 17th May
Spring 2013
pub 2012
hist fic period piece

opening: Lake Jölster, Sunnfjord, Norway. May 1905

Oleanna Tollefsdatter Myklebost was beset by ghosts: winter ice in her veins, chill and stiff even during the long summer days of the midnight sun.

Not the read I wanted. This was an undemanding romance/beach trinket set in 1905 with the politics merely alluded to.

Ole Bull founded a utopian 'New Norway' in PA, USA:

Bull visited the U
Melanie Spiller
I just finished reading Julie K. Rose's book "Oleanna," and I feel refreshed. The story follows a woman through loss and love, politics and poverty, and throughout it all, sets the scene quietly in Norway. I often felt as though I was reading poetry: the language was languid and lush and so very evocative. I haven't got a single Norwegian root, but I found myself wishing for them, wishing I had a farm to visit and ghosts of my own. As another reviewer mentioned, the letter from Julie's grandfath ...more
Jenny Q
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This lovely little novel was my introduction to Norwegian historical fiction, and I really enjoyed it. It's a beautifully written story crafted around characters based on the authors ancestors, Oleanna and Elizabeth, two sisters left holding the pieces of their family's farm after a series of tragedies. Oleanna is the older sister, a young woman struggling to hold on to the only way of life she's ever known while the lure of the ever-widening world and the opportunities it holds draws her friend ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
I really liked this book. It had a good story, good characters and an interesting setting. I think one of the marks of a good book is when you aren't ready to leave the characters when the book ends. I was most definitely not ready to leave Oleanna when the book ended. I wanted to see what happens to her. Is she happy? Will she ever change her mind?

Oleanna is a fabulous character. She's strong but personable and definitely the sort of character that you find yourself rooting for. While Oleanna i
Stephanie Dagg
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a novel of landscapes - physical, political and emotional. It has the unusual and beautiful setting of Norway, at an unsettled time in its history. The lives of Oleanna and Elisabeth are also unsettled. Their brother is shortly to leave them for America, but they must stay and look after the farm. The arrival of Anders causes further ripples in their demanding but rhythmic lives that follow the seasons. This is something I can sympathise with as a farmer. The weather and the needs of the ...more
Anna Graham
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This quiet, profound book explores the still depths of grief and loss, yet it ends with a sense of hope and a realization of what constitutes home. Many of my recent reads have been more like shallow rapids, so I found this book to be deeply refreshing. The protagonist is as richly realized a character as I have encountered in quite a while, and the subsidiary characters are equally individual. These are people you feel you really know by the end of the book, in all their complexity and many-fac ...more
The Lit Bitch
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel caught my eye for one specific reason…..the setting. Normally, I read a lot of historic fiction that is set in England, America, or France…..but mostly England. England tends to be the favorite setting for most historical fiction novels and why not, it’s full of history!

But after a while, one can’t help but wonder what else is out there beyond the UK in the world of HF? Enter Oleanna.

I was astonished at the breathtaking use of setting! Norway sounds absolutely stunning! The flourishin
Reading Oleanna was like taking a breath of fresh air. Julie has crafted a compelling story that takes place in Norway in 1905 and evokes a strong tie between a family and everyday life of the farm they work and live on. She also creates a strong sense of place and culture that blends beautifully with the story.

Oleanna and her sister Elisabeth are the last of their family. The remaining two brothers have left for America, leaving them behind. The farm is all the sisters really have ever known a
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oleanna by Julie K. Rose is quite simply a beautifully written book. The story was inspired by the author’s great-great aunts and takes place in Norway in 1905. This novel paints such a vivid picture of life at this time in history and you feel drawn in from the very first page. You feel the hardships, love, loss, loyalty and family that flow from the pages of this book all the while feeling haunted by the shadows of ghosts past. I don’t often turn the last page of a book and want to go right ba ...more
Cynthia Mcarthur
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oleanna is aptly titled, as it is the story of Oleanna. So many books proclaiming to be about one character wind up being about several secondary characters as well. Not so with this book. We are with Oleanna, we see the others through her eyes, and feel them with her emotions, but it is her story. She is coming afraid and also coming alive with every page of the story. The imagery was unbelievable. I could almost feel the cold Norwegian air, even see my breath as Oleanna and I sat around a fire ...more
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it

Oleanna was a book about the land and place my own grandfather came from in 1918. Sogn og Fjordane (south Fjord)and Sunnifjord have stark
and beautiful landscapes; in the early 20th century,it was the
homeland its natives were escaping in droves.

Oleanna herself attempted to follow her 2 brothers to America and decided against it even as the opportunity was available to her. The land and the life she was used to called her back. It is a beautiful story of a haunting place and the contrast betwee
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a highly enjoyable read! Once I started it, I couldn't put it down! I became quite invested in these characters very quickly. At first, I wasn't sure I even liked Oleanna or her sister much, however, as the story unfolded and I learned more of their family's recent tragedies, I began to understand their motivations and struggles. The isolated setting seemed to be a character all on its own; perfectly reflecting the lives of these women. I loved the historic glimpse into life in the fjor ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect to get sucked into this story of a family in 1905 Norway, but the main character (Oleanna) is so conflicted and so well drawn that I couldn't help it. All of the characters are contradictions fighting against themselves as much as each other. The setting is gorgeous and still and isolated and strikes perfectly true. It's no Little House on the Prairie--it's far too grown-up for that--but it captures a lot of the same issues, only told from the side of the people left behind, both ...more
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I truly loved this book. Knowing it came from Julie's heart and family only added to the depth of the characters. I've never been to Norway, yet I could easily imagine every scene--the lush descriptions brought the characters and scenery vividly to my mind. This is a well-researched and beautifully written story. Love and loss are treated as sacred, and I genuinely cared about both the characters and the nation, as it went through its own metamorphosis. Whoever said, "when love and talent come t ...more
Heather Domin
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
On the cover of this book I'm quoted with the following: "Rose brings a time of historic change to life through passionate characters and lush prose. Oleanna is a true labor of love." I stand by that. I'm all about good description and interesting characters, but more than anything I love to see a story that is clearly a product of the author's deep love for a place and time. Oleanna is definitely one of those stories.
Michael Selvin
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
A quiet romance between a stubborn, prideful woman and an equally taciturn man, both haunted by ghosts of the past. The novel makes a remarkable effort to reflect the climate and landscape of the Norwegian lakes and fjords in the texture of the story and movement of the novel. The novel never takes the reader far from the difficult life of an isolated farmer, attempting to rationalize living removed from the pressures of the dawning 20th century.
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a book I had won in a Goodreads giveaway and I did enjoy it. There was some slow parts, and the ending was kind of predictable. What I enjoyed was the development of the characters. The author really took the time to establish their personalities, so the reader wants to keep reading even though he/she knows what is coming. The pain they felt was very real, and the author made the emotions raw and tangible. It was a moving story, and definitely worth the read.
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I know very little about Norway, and it started out kind of slow, but my goodness, parts of this book absolutely took my breath away. The writing is marvelous, the characters just complicated enough to keep you wondering, and the descriptions of the mountains, the small cities in the early 1900s were simply riveting.
Marie Hunter
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thank you. It was so informative. Whose family was not the same? Please write more. I can tell similar tales. I am only one generation off the farm. What you said was very wonderful. I could smell the trees, the forest, the shore. Beautifully written. Thank you.:)
Darlene Williams
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Complete review available at http://darleneelizabethwilliamsauthor... ...more
gj indieBRAG
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
We are proud to announce that this book has been honored with a 2012 B.R.A.G.Medallion - telling you that this book is well worth your time and money!
Michelle Myklebust
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was unable to put this book down. It is a fantastic read!!
Deborah Sturtridge
Stronger Women

A lovely story about two sisters
The strength and courage it takes to live in such an isolated part of Norway in1905. It is well written with beautiful description of there way of life
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
(3.5 stars)
Mar 09, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Urgghhhh. DNF. As much as I wanted to read about 1905 Scandinavia, I just could not handle the mass-market romance quality of this story and prose style. Blah.
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful prose. I don't normally write much in my reviews, but this is well worth your time.
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Julie K. Rose is an author of historical fiction, fascinated by stories and settings slightly off the beaten track. From 12th century Burgundy in The Pilgrim Glass, to early 20th century Norway in Oleanna, to 1930s Tunisia in Dido's Crown, she has a deep love for history and a terrible case of wanderlust. Her love of language, history, and art history led her to degrees in Humanities and English – ...more

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