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Morning At Jalna (1983)

Morning at Jalna (1983)

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3.87 of 5 Votes: 1
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0333039335 (ISBN13: 9780333039335)

About book Morning At Jalna (1983)

I enjoyed MORNING AT JALNA, despite its flaws. It's one of the weaker books in the Jalna series. In fact, a reviewer once stated that "she saw no reason why the book should have been written!" That's a rather harsh judgment, though, in my opinion. MORNING AT JALNA really does have a (sort of) interesting plot, and that's a lot to say for author Mazo de la Roche, who is not remembered as ever having been strong on plotting...The setting is the early 1860's, just after the outbreak of the American Civil War. Adeline and Philip invite their friends the Sinclairs---a wealthy Southern couple---to stay indefinitely at Jalna. The husband, Curtis Sinclair, is a hunchback debarred from joining the Confederate army, but he has secret dealings with spies in Canada who would sabotage and undermine the Northern cause. Lucy is a pretty but "dishevelled tragedy queen," lamenting her ruined plantations but managing to charm all the men in sight. And then a local person gets wind of Curtis's plans and warns the proper authorities just in time, putting Curtis Sinclair in great personal danger...I should also mention the black slaves---Cindy, Belle and Jerry---who accompany "Massa and Missus Sinclair" to Jalna, disrupting the entire household. I am sorry to report that Ms. de la Roche isn't overly kind in her treatment of the slaves. In fact, she descends to the use of some nasty racial stereotypes. The main dark-skinned character here is Belle, a sweet religious girl who marries Wilmott's servant, Tite Sharrow. Tite later SELLS her to his cousin----I kid you not!----and Belle is apparently okay with that, because she's "used" to being treated as chattel. Not a pleasant theme. If de la Roche were portraying this as a major injustice, I might understand. But she takes too obvious a delight in Tite's "rascality," so we see well enough where her real sympathies lie.I did enjoy the sheningans of Adeline's children---Augusta, Nicholas and Ernest. They get into all kinds of mischief. For readers who already know these three as the elderly aunt and uncles from JALNA, it's very enlightening to see what these same characters were like as kids...

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