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 back to the beginning but that’s how this novel has made me feel with all the beautiful passages and the quiet but deep and touching tale.
Oleanna and her sister Elisabeth are all that is left of their family and they have suffered an abundance of loss with the death of both of their parents and two sisters as well as two brothers who immigrated to America. Elisabeth has her young son but all Oleanna seems left with are ghosts from the past. Since the death of her mother and younger sister Anna she can’t move on as she feels responsible for them dying. Oleanna believes that everyone you love always ends up leaving you and this leaves her unable to put her trust in anyone or even to love again. Into the scenario comes Anders who lives on the border of their farm and despite trying hard to avoid it there is a definite spark between Oleanna and Anders. As things become more serious between them Oleanna begins to question Anders about his past but he is very secretive about it although he professes to love her. Just as she begins to trust him and hope for a future together he tells her that he has to leave but he promises to be back. Can he be trusted? Or is he just the same as everyone else who leaves her? When the opportunity arises for Oleanna to travel to America she pushes herself hard and takes it. If she doesn’t do it now then she will never leave the farm and see the world and more importantly actually have a life. Is a life outside the farm really what she wants though or will the pull of the familiar and the love of family take her back to what is truly important to her?
I really liked Oleanna. Both she and her sister Elisabeth were no strangers to hard work. Living in on a farm that is pretty much out in the wilds ensured that they knew what an honest day’s work entailed and often they worked from dawn till dusk to get all the chores completed. Oleanna also wasn’t willing to settle even though she was thirty years old which in the early 1900’s was considered an old maid. She was strong and yet battled her ghosts and the guilt that held her in one place. I admired her for her loyalty to both her sister and the land that had been in her family for generations. Oleanna was a woman I won’t soon forget.
I loved this novel. I’m always drawn to novels of early farming communities and the struggles of the people who lived on them. Oleanna went a step further in this novel’s beautiful, lyrical writing and evoking a time and place that takes you out of your world and puts you into another one. The vivid descriptions of this land of solitude were so achingly beautiful and I wanted nothing more than to find myself sitting beside the lake and staring out at the land and experiencing the peace of it for myself. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more from this author!
Oleanna by Julie K. Rose is touring with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours so be sure to pop by the other tour stops to see what others are saying about the book. Julie can be found on her website as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. You can pick up your own copy of Oleanna at Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N, and IndieBound.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS (Open Internationally)
I have one copy of Oleanna by Julie K. Rose to share with my readers. To enter…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
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This giveaway is open internationally! I will draw for the winner on Saturday, April 20/13. Good luck!
Source: Review copy provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and the Publisher. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.