San Josef
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Author: Harold Macy

For Clayton Monroe, the last hope for refuge is a struggling setttlement at the far northwest corner of  Vancouver Island. San Josef is his sanctuary from the imagined demons and real enemies who have pursued him for three decades, from the Civil War battlefields of Virginia and across the plains of Kansas to the gold rush gateway of Seattle. 

For Anika Frederickson, San Josef is her new home and her dream, a now failing community built on the promises of provincial government officials. The future of her colony, carved from the coastal wilderness by the tenacity of her fellow Danish idealists, is as uncertain as the storms that batter their farms.

A man like Monroe leaves a burning trail behind him, and the autumn winds of 1897 bring a new arrival to Cape Scott, sparking an inevitable challenge to Clayton’s safety and Anika’s family. 

At San Josef, the rainforest and the river will bear witness.

  • Fiction
  • ISBN 978-1-7751659-8-9 (softcover)
  • ISBN 978-1-7751659-9-6 (html)
  • 5.5″ x 8.5″
  • Publication date: September 2019
  • CAD $ 20.00

Although I have lived on Vancouver Island for over forty years, I have never travelled farther north than Port Hardy. All I knew of San Josef and Cape Scott at the northern tip of the island was from historical research into the early Danish settlement there, and from my husband and son’s description when they hiked there a few years ago in what is today known as Cape Scott Provincial Park.

Reading Harold Macy’s book San Josef was a remarkable education for me. His book places the reader into life as it must have been lived in that remote area in 1898. With the use of resilient and colourful characters plus a compelling descriptive text, Macy’s novel takes the reader into a completely different world. The book holds your attention from the beginning — as every good story should.

From the opening paragraph, the author grabs the reader’s interest by resolutely placing you in the location with his words “the conflict (between) the might of the Pacific against the sodden runoff from the forested hills and swamps of this north end of Vancouver Island.”

Valerie Green, The Ormsby Review

In Harold Macy’s remarkable novel, Vancouver Island’s wild and beautiful northernmost region  is the stage for an intruiging tale. San Josef  does what novels do best — brings us in close to witness an unfolding drama (both personal and communal) that we can believe in. Characters we care about struggle towards a dreamed vision of success for their remote settlement, though of course obstacles, including the inconvenient  human passions, tend to get in the way. As in many of the best stories, much is at stake here for both the main characters and their community. At the same time, much is to be enjoyed by the reader.

San Josef is the story of a U.S. civil war deserter adrift in a rainforest, a muleskinner seeking revenge and a Danish woman living in a remote colony. A deep and sometimes dark novel where hope goes astray but is never lost. The characters are as complex as a spider’s web, the language poetic and the environment a tangible force. Harold Macy paints a visual and psychological
picture in every paragraph.

The Ormsby Review

January 30, 2020

Review by Valerie Green