The Ormsby Review

The Ormsby Review: San Josef

734 Destination Danish colony
Reviewed by Valerie Green, January 30, 2020


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.”

…Macy based this story on a legend reported in 1907 in the Victoria Colonist. He made it his own story with names, places, and dates changed. He has done his research well. Although San Josef is his first novel I hope it will not be his last. As a forester, now based in the Comox Valley, Harold Macy knows and understands the woods and has turned his expertise into a very readable novel.

Read the full review at The Ormsby Review.