Mazo de la Roche was an impoverished writer in Toronto when in 1927 she won a $10,000 prize from the American magazine Atlantic Monthly for her novel Jalna. The book became an immediate bestseller. She went on to publish sixteen novels in the popular series.
First published in 1949, in Mary Wakefield, the third book in the Jalna series, a young English woman is hired by Ernest Whiteoak to be a governess to Philipâ€™s motherless children. When Philip falls in love with her, his mother does all she can to prevent the marriage. This is book 3 of 16 in The Whiteoak Chronicles. It is followed by Young Renny.
The role of women and the role of money and materialism in the novel offer an interesting point of comparison for younger readers in the classroom.