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Reviewed by Soumya Sreehari for Readers' Favorite
Set in early 18th-century Scotland, Jocki MacTavish and the Refugees by Albert Marsolais gives a comprehensive glimpse into country life in a coastal village. Jocki is the young son of the village tavern owners. He works as an assistant to the town’s doctor and as the handyman in his family’s tavern. His friend Genna is a French immigrant who lives with her uncle and aunt. The story follows Jocki’s life as he encounters family secrets and financial hardship. He is determined to find ways to help his family and friends. A personal favor to help bring Genna’s brother from France turns into a massive endeavor. The whole town and village get together to host an entire camp of refugees. Jocki forms the glue that rallies the community into helping each other.
As the story begins, Jocki MacTavish learns a startling secret about his family’s past. At the same time, Jocki’s dear friend Genna receives shocking news about her little brother in France. Jocki MacTavish and the Refugees by Albert Marsolais is a story of solidarity in families and communities. Unexpected events unfold that affect the entire community. Jocki and Genna find creative ways to help each other, their families, and the town. Learning about life in 18th-century Scotland was intriguing to me. Albert breathes life into every character – the doctor, the laundress, the waitress, the dockworkers. The tavern is a little family of its own. There is a lot to learn from Jocki and Genna’s experiences. The story left me with feelings of warmth and compassion.