|Tags:||Canadiana, fiction, short story|
This story was first published in MacLean’s, Vol. 40, No. 20, October 15, 1927 issue, pp: 3-5,44, 45 & 47. It won a prize of $125 in MacLean's short story contest. [Suggest a different description.]
Author Bio for de la Roche, Mazo
Canadian author, whose popular Jalna saga has been translated into many languages. Her first book in the series was published in 1927 - in total it consists of 16 volumes and made de la Roche one of the most popular novelists. The series covers 100 years of the wealthy Whiteoak family history, and it is partly based on de la Roche's own experiences. The central characters are Adeline Whiteoak, his grandson Eden and his half-brother Renny, his wife Alayne with a number of spouses, ex-spouses, and spouses-to-be. Archer, Alayne's son, summarizes the theme: "The family has been the structure of all our lives. We don't think about it. It's like the air we breathe. It is sacred to us."
Mazo Roche (she later added the 'de la' to her name) was born in Newmarket, in rural Ontario, the setting for most of her fiction. She was the only child of William Roche, a salesman, and Alberta (Lundy) Roche. During her marriage, Alberta moved seventeen times. After the death of her parents, de la Roche moved also from place to place. In her childhood her parents adopted her orphaned cousin, Caroline Clement, who became her lifelong companion. Although her family wasn't rich, she spent some years as a child on a farm owned by a wealthy man who farmed as a hobby. There de la Roche began to develop her fantasy world of rural aristocracy. H. (Rache) Lovat Dickson, her close friend and editor later said, that the Whiteoaks were "idealized conceptions of ancestors whom she only just knew but had heard about, but if she hadn't had the sort of family background that she had, then she couldn't have written the sort of books that the Whiteoaks books are." De la Roche studied art and English at the University of Toronto. Between the years 1930 and 1940 she lived in Devon, England, where she was frequently a guest of the royal family at Windsor. De la Roche returned to Canada before the start of World War II.
In 1902 de la Roche published her first story in Munsey's Magazine, but it was not until the death of her father that she devoted herself to writing. Her early novels, POSSESSION (1923) and DELIGHT (1926), were romantic novels. JALNA (1927) brought her success when she was 48. It won Atlantic Monthly's $10,000 Book Award, and gained huge popularity among readers. The story was set in the 1920s, and the reader joins the family a year or so before the 100th birthday of its matriarch. Originally Jalna was intended to stand alone, but the critical acclaim inspired the author to produce sequels and prequels at a steady rate. The film version of the book of 1935, directed by John Cromwell, was according to Variety "a nice production of a not very good adaptation." Source: Mazo de la Roche Society
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