Set during the separation of Norway from Sweden in 1905, this richly detailed novel of love and loss was inspired by the life of the author’s great-great-aunts.
Oleanna and her sister Elisabeth are the last of their family working their farm deep in the western fjordland. A new century has begun, and the world outside is changing, but in the Sunnfjord their world is as small and secluded as the verdant banks of a high mountain lake.
The arrival of Anders, a cotter living just across the farm’s border, unsettles Oleanna’s peaceful but isolated existence. Sharing a common bond of loneliness and grief, Anders stirs within her the wildness and wanderlust she has worked so hard to tame. When she is confronted with another crippling loss, Oleanna must decide once and for all how to face her past, claim her future, and find her place in a wide new world.
From the reviewers:
“There’s elegant restraint in how Rose articulates love and loss, passion and madness, the rhythm of farm life, the quietude of rural Norway. In this book, I saw shades of both Sigrid Undset and Willa Cather…Even if you aren’t typically a historical fiction fan, consider this novel–it’s a wonderful snapshot of a place and a time set in tradition but uprooted by enormous transition. A story of ordinary women, unique and astounding in their own way, that will charm and captivate.” – Unabridged Chick
“I was touched by this book, by its very poignant starkness…a gentle tale with quiet depth, atmospherically stark yet richly detailed like the culture and people of Norge herself. Beautiful. The prose was simple yet expressive; no fancy writing gimmicks or extraneous details, but every word was carefully chosen.” – Queen’s Quill Review
“Oleanna is women’s historical fiction at its finest. I thoroughly enjoyed every word and highly recommend it as a fascinating read, giving insight into a lesser known country and period in history.” – Historical Novel Review
“Oleanna is a fabulous character. She’s strong but personable and definitely the sort of character that you find yourself rooting for…Historical fiction lovers will eat this book up!” – A Bookish Affair
“This is a novel of quiet depth that evokes strong imagery; it is a story that is stark and humble and at the same time, finely drawn. The awe-inspiring scenery, the backbreaking work, and, at the same time, the appeal of and sense of belonging the women feel for their home are brightly painted through the author’s judicious use of language. A beautiful story.” – Historical Novels Review
I’m an author of unique historical and contemporary fiction. I’m particularly interested in the intersection of the spiritual and secular, the supernatural and the everyday, the past and the present, and the deep, instinctual draw of the land.
Oleanna, short-listed for finalists in the 2011 Faulkner-Wisdom literary competition, is my second novel. The Pilgrim Glass, a finalist in the 2005 Faulkner-Wisdom and semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, was published in 2010.
I am a proud member of the Historical Novel Society and former reviewer for the Historical Novels Review. I live in the Bay Area with my husband and our cat Pandora, and love reading, watching episodes of Doctor Who, and enjoying the amazing natural beauty of Northern California.
And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample of Oleanna by Julie K. Rose: