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Roche's use of metaphor would be helpful to students to understand how language and environment can be used to mirror both characters' lives and story developments. (CM Magazine 2012-03-30)
First published in 1960, in Morning at Jalna it is 1863 and the American Civil War is raging south of the border. Still in its early years, the Jalna estate seems far away from the despair and destruction. Philip, who will grow up to become the master of Jalna, has just come into the world, while Augusta, Nicholas, and Ernest are children. Life at Jalna is as peaceful as usual until the Sinclairs come to visit. They arrive with the polished manners and soft accents of Old Carolina and quickly appeal to Adeline’s sense of hospitality. However, as the burden these distant cousins bring grows, the Whiteoaks begin to suspect that the Sinclairs have a deep and dangerous secret. This is book 2 of 16 in The Whiteoak Chronicles. It is followed by Mary Wakefield.
Mazo de la Roche, in 1927, was an impoverished writer in Toronto when she won a $10,000 prize from The Atlantic Monthly for her novel Jalna. The book became an immediate bestseller and was eventually adapted for stage, screen, and television.