‘We all have unique four legged stools, each leg an extension from our grandparents who contribute to our being. At conception, our entire biology stems from our forebears, the history that preceded us.’
This is the explanation given by Alfred Woollacott, III on the subtitle of his debut novel, ‘The Immigrant: One from My Four Legged Stool’. It all started with the author’s passion for genealogical research. Upon his retirement, he decided to dedicate his time to digging into his own genealogy and bringing to light the lives of his ancestors, with dates, facts, and events. The moment he realized that these people had complex, interesting lives, filled with hardships, dreams, and hopes, was the moment he took the leap and used his imagination to fill in the gaps and offer readers captivating stories that would keep them on the edge of their seats, while also providing them with invaluable historical insight.
‘The Immigrant’ tells the story of the author’s seven-greats grandfather John Law, who was a young Scotsman who ended up in the Massachusetts Bay Colony under terrible, unexpected circumstances. At 15, John fought for his country in the English Civil War, and he was captured by Cromwell’s forces. He survived a death march to Durham, England, where he was shipped to colonial America along with other 150 prisoners of war. So, in 1651, John Law was an outcast, thrown into a world which was very different from his, and forced to find ways to survive and adapt. He became an indentured servant working as a public sheep herder for the community of Concord. He worked hard and used all his intelligence and determination to build a future in this new world and society that treated him badly. Eventually, he married an English woman, had children, and even managed to acquire land.
Alfred Woollacott has done a great job at portraying colonial America in the seventeenth century. Those who are interested in colonial history will soon realize ‘The Immigrant’ is an absolute must-read. The Puritan theocracy, the problems between colonists and Native Americans, and the hardships of colonial life, all these are presented in great detail, but in a way which is captivating to the reader. The story is quite fast-paced, and it is also filled with invaluable insight into the social, political, and economical situation of the historical period the main character lived in.
The characters are believable and relatable, and readers will root for John Law from page one. The fact that he was a real person who went through all the difficult, yet incredible experiences described in the novel, makes the book all the more valuable, interesting, and intriguing. Fans of true historical literature will want to keep an eye out for Alfred Woollacott’s next books and the genealogical research results he regularly posts on his website.