Mazo de la Roche som skrev Jalna-serien ble en rik og berømt forfatter. I de første årene hun bodde i England leide hun bolig. Så rik ble hun at hun kunne kjøpe Vale House på bildet over som var 300 år og som, lå like ved Winsdor Castle der «upper-class» bodde. Men da 2. verdenskrig startet, flyttet hun tilbake til Canada og bodde der resten av livet. I 1946 ble eiendommen ekspropriert av britiske myndigheter. Dette skriver Heather Kirk i biografien om forfatteren.
Det at boken Whiteoaks of Jalna, boken som jeg leste som bok nr. 8 i serien, ble teater i West End i London, bidro til Mazo de la Roches berømmelse:
“London theatre-goers flocked to the play for the next three years until the Second World War, when Nazi bombing made collective evening activities dangerous. People laughed uproariously whenever Gran Whiteoak was on the stage. The Dowager Queen Mary, widow of King George V, went to see the play four or five times and even requested a private meeting with Boney. The play also went to Broadway in New York City, across central Canada, and around England.
More than any single event except the novel Jalna winning an international competition, the phenomenal success of the play Whiteoaks established Mazo's reputation as a writer.”
"TORONTO WOMAN WINS $10,000 ATLANTIC MONTHLY NOVEL PRIZE" was the caption below the front-page photo of Mazo and Bunty in the Toronto Star of Monday, April 11, 1927. Overnight, Mazo had become a rich and famous writer. Her telephone and doorbell rang all day. Messenger boys arrived with telegrams of congratulations. Florists' boxes arrived containing every kind of flower. Reporters arrived to interview her. Friends arrived to congratulate her. The partying went on for months.
Novelists from all around the world had entered their work in an American competition for best novel, and a Canadian — Mazo de la Roche — had won!
Mazo's big win after many years of financial and personal struggle was wonderful, but it was not to be her only triumph. She would go on to write sixteen novels about a Canadian family called the Whiteoaks living in a house called Jalna, and these novels would sell in the millions in many languages and many countries. Her Jalna novels would be made into a Hollywood movie and a Broadway play. This same play, Whiteoaks, would be the first Canadian play to be mounted on a professional stage in London, England. And it was a hit!
Mazo would write other books too, and she would win more awards. She would live in a mansion next door to the king and queen of England. She would become one of Canada's most popular authors ever.”
Heather Kirk skriver
om et innholdsrikt liv med oppturer og nedturer. Etter å ha lest bok nr. 16 i
serien stilte jeg meg spørsmålet om Mazo hadde tenkt å skrive flere bøker i
her forteller Heather Kirk at Mazo var i gang med bok nr. 17 da hun døde:
“Mazo de la Roche died quietly in the early morninz July 12, 1961 at her home in Toronto, in bed in tie presence of her family. She had been bedridden and z the care of nurses for several years, but she had been working on a seventeenth Jalna novel — never completed. After Mazo passed away, Caroline immediate*' went into her own room and closed the door. Later day she sent a telegram to Mazo's publisher: '"MAZO LEFT US LAST NIGHT PLEASE TELL THE OTBERS." She burned Mazo's diaries.”
Om boken Mazo skrev på før hun døde det var en fortsettelse på bok nr. 16 fikk jeg ikke vite ved å lese biografien.
Kvaliteten på bøkene til Mazo de la Roche kan alltids diskuteres opp ot den overfloden av bøker som er i markedet i dag. Men at hun i sin tid var en populær forfatter kan ikke benektes. Uansett, bøkene har gitt meg så mange gode lesestunder, og jeg er ikke i tvil at serien jeg leste første gang som barn var med å legge grunnlaget for at jeg er en boknerd.