Jalna (novel series)

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AuthorMazo de la Roche
SeriesJalna (or Whiteoaks)
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
Publication date
June 1927
Media typePrint

Jalna is a 16-book series of novels by the Canadian writer Mazo de la Roche.

Jalna is the name of the fictional manor house in which the Whiteoak family lives. The name comes from Jalna, a city in west-central India, where there was a British garrison. In a prequel novel, the house is built by a retired officer of the British army who served in India. Jalna is partly based on Benares, a house in Mississauga, Canada. Benares was built in the late 1850s for a retired officer of the British army who had served in India, James B. Harris. It once occupied a larger estate, upon which de la Roche lived for a time. "Benares" is an alternate name of Varanasi, a city in India which had a British garrison.

The story[edit]

Spanning 1854 to 1954, the Jalna series tells the story of the Whiteoak family who lived on a southern Ontario estate.[1] The novels were not written in sequential order.[2] Each can be read as an independent story.

There are similarities and as well as differences in the experiences of the Whiteoak family and de la Roche's. While the lives and successes of the Whiteoaks rise and fall, there remained for them the steadiness of the family manor, known as Jalna. De la Roche's family endured the illness of her mother, the perpetual job searches of her father, and the adoption of her orphaned cousin while being moved 17 times. Her family did work a farm for a few years for a wealthy man who owned the farm for a hobby. Several critics believe that Finch from Finch's Fortune (1932) is a reflection of de la Roche herself. The names of many of the characters were taken from gravestones in a Newmarket, Ontario cemetery.


Jalna, first published in 1927, won the Atlantic Monthly Press's first $10,000 Atlantic Prize Novel award. De la Roche went on to write about the Whiteoak family for the next 30 years, establishing a place for herself in popular Canadian literature. The Jalna series has been translated into many languages and was adapted for stage, radio, and television. John Cromwell directed the 1935 film adaptation, Jalna, released by RKO Radio Pictures. In 1972, the story was adapted for television and aired on the CBC as The Whiteoaks of Jalna.[1]

By 1961, when de la Roche died, the series had sold more than eleven million copies in 193 English and 92 foreign editions.[1]

The books[edit]

Title Order Publisher Year Notes
Building of Jalna 1 Little, Brown 1944
Morning at Jalna 2 Little, Brown 1960
Mary Wakefield 3 Little, Brown 1949
Young Renny 4 Little, Brown 1935
Whiteoak Heritage 5 Little, Brown 1935
Whiteoak Brothers 6 Little, Brown 1953
Jalna 7 Little, Brown 1927
Whiteoaks of Jalna 8 Little, Brown 1929 Published as Whiteoaks, Macmillan, 1929
Finch's Fortune 9 Little, Brown 1932
The Master of Jalna 10 Little, Brown 1933
Whiteoak Harvest 11 Little, Brown 1936
Wakefield's Course 12 Little, Brown 1941
Return to Jalna 13 Little, Brown 1946
Renny's Daughter 14 Little, Brown 1951
Variable Winds at Jalna 15 Little, Brown 1954
Centenary at Jalna 16 Little, Brown 1954

Film and television adaptations[edit]

  • Jalna, 1935, RKO Radio Pictures film
  • The Whiteoak Chronicles: The Building of Jalna, 1955, BBC television Film
  • The Whiteoaks of Jalna, 1972, CBC television drama miniseries


  1. ^ a b c Crowe-Grande, Trish (9 August 2020). "Exploring the early years of Newmarket literary icon Mazo de la Roche". NewmarketToday.ca. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  2. ^ "Mazo de la Roche". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 4 February 2021.

External links[edit]