Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Not Just About A Book Club Reads "Oleanna"


We enjoyed a wonderful book club meeting November 1, 2022.  Our book club read "Oleanna"by Julie K. Rose.

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." 

   Club member Marcia G. had recommended this novel of Norway in 1905.  She had wanted to research literature related to her ancestors hailing from Norway.

 * As in this story, Marcia's  ancestors all immigrated to the United States and settled in the cold state of North Dakota.  Both sides of her family established large family farms, one that continues to be a working farm today. 


Our "Norwegian" hostess with the mostest Marcia


Book club members arrived to find an amazing buffet of Norwegian foods featuring specialty items that Marcia fondly remembered eating with her family throughout her childhood.  We tasted so many delicious cheeses, fish, breads, Norwegian meatballs and gravy, Lingonberry jam, and wonderful desserts filled with cream and berries.  Marcia outdid herself making so much of these wonderful treats.


Marcia made this specialty Norwegian flatbread for us!




"Skol" Cheers and good health to all!

After the wonderful lunch Marcia led us in a multi faceted discussion of Norwegian history discussing everything from arts and crafts, family traditions, geography, folklore and food. She provided us with maps and a glossary of words in the novel "Oleanna" which gave us deeper insight into the Norwegian vocabulary. Ex: "Lefse, a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread made with flour, but usually riced potato along with butter, milk, cream, and lard. She also noted: "I grew up eating this every holiday, my favorite was smeared with butter sprinkled with sugar, a real treat for me."

We also sampled Norwegian "Akavit" which is a a flavoured spirit that has been produced in the Nordic countries since the 15th century. Aquavit's distinctive flavour comes from the spices and herbs, which can vary, but the main flavouring must be from caraway or dill.  

A lively discussion about "Oleanna" followed.  It was most interesting to hear from Marcia how the book gave her deeper insight into the lives of her ancestors who themselves were farmers like the two sisters,  Oleanna and Elizabeth. Marcia said there are lots of books on Thor and Norwegian gods/folklore however this was the only novel she could find anywhere of historical fiction

After the discussion Marcia talked about Norwegian specialty desserts and we were so impressed with her lovingly made Rosette cookies (Rosettbakkels)  and Waffle Cone Cookies (Krumkake).

Absolutely divine

After this fabulous dessert our group member Kathy presented a thank you basket to our hostess. A snack basket for Marcia's upcoming road trip back to her other home in Texas.

Beyond all that Marcia did for this book club luncheon she also presented each member with a goodie bag of Norwegian treats.  






Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!!  You really overwhelmed us with your thoughtfulness and generosity. Thank you so much for all the love you poured into making this a very memorable and special book club gathering!

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