Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review and Give@way: Oleanna by Julie K. Rose

Title: Oleanna
Author: Julie K. Rose
Publisher: Self-Published
Publish Date: January 23, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author. This did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You're an armchair traveler.
What's the Story?:

From "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. With their parents dead and their brothers all gone to America, the sisters have resigned themselves to a simple life tied to the land and to the ghosts of those who have departed.

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.

Oleanna was short-listed in the 2011 Faulkner-Wisdom novel competition."

My Two Cents:

I really liked this book. It had a good story, good characters and an interesting setting. I think one of the marks of a good book is when you aren't ready to leave the characters when the book ends. I was most definitely not ready to leave Oleanna when the book ended. I wanted to see what happens to her. Is she happy? Will she ever change her mind?

Oleanna is a fabulous character. She's strong but personable and definitely the sort of character that you find yourself rooting for. While Oleanna is a thoroughly fictional character,she is based on one of Rose's real life relatives, which I thought was infinitely cool. Rose took some of the very little details about what she knew of two of her spinster aunts in Norway and turned it into something really amazing. I really liked that Rose included this information in the afterword of the book. It's so awesome to see where authors get their ideas.

Norway is not a country that I'm too terribly familiar with. I'm even less familiar with the country's history. And I'm not sure that I've ever read a fiction book about the country. I definitely learned a little bit from this book (definitely a bonus when reading something). I had no clue that Norwegian as it is today is such a nascent language. I found Rose's afterword about the context of this story really, really interesting. This book definitely made me interested in learning a little bit more about the history of Norway. I do wish that Oleanna would have included a little more information about the suffrage movement. I thought that would have been a really interesting arc especially in light of the country separating from Sweden.

Historical fiction lovers will eat this book up! 


Thanks to the author, I am pleased to be able to offer a giveaway for a paperback of Oleanna.

The Fine Print:
- You must be 13 and over
- Open to US only!
- You must be a follower of A Bookish Affair

- Giveaway ends February 13!
Just fill out the form below!



  1. This sounds like a great historical fiction book. I have never read a book set in Norway, thanks for the review!

  2. This book sounds great, and I have also never read a book set in Norway. Thanks for the chance to win and the amazing giveway. I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about what the author says in the afterward, like, just as excited as I am about the book!


Hi! Welcome to A Bookish Affair. If you leave a comment, I will try to either reply here or on your site!

As of 6/6/2011, this book is now an awards free zone. While I appreciate the awards, I would rather stick to reviewing more great books for you than trying to fill the requirements.

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