July 22nd 2014

Book: Historical Fiction


Robert Egby’s fifth novel “For the Love of Rose: A Journey in Three Worlds” is the haunting love story of two brothers raised on a Northern New York dairy farm in the mid-1930s. Frank Barbury loves trains and wants to be an engineer and Jake, his younger brother wants to be a writer.

In their spare time they could often be found swimming in Three Mile Creek as it flows through an old stone railway bridge. Then one day their idyllic lives crumble. Frank meets and literally falls head-over-heels in love with Rose Gerrard, a beautiful, elegant and sharp-tongued artist from Long Island’s elite who has been commissioned to create oil paintings for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.

Through 1935 and 1936 they spend many good times together and fall deeply in love. But Frank is mortified when he discovers Rose is five years his senior. She rebuffs his passionate advances and tells him bluntly: “You’re still a boy, wait until you are grown up and have a career.”

But little known to anyone Frank is on a fast and grim track to adulthood.

The youngsters have been raised in a strict “no guns, no anger, no killing” home environment. Jake Barbury a couple of years younger than Frank envies his older brother and watches as a simple but deadly chain of events splits up the lovers and seduces each one to experience grueling and terrifying experiences.

Across the Atlantic Spain is embroiled in a violent civil war. Rose’s father, a New York surgeon goes to Spain to work in the understaffed field hospitals and Rose goes with him. They promptly get lost. To please Rose’s mother, enthusiastic Frank sets off for Europe completely unaware of the perils that lie ahead.

For three long months in early 1937 Frank’s dedicated love for Rose sees him trek through the snow covered Pyrenees, hide in a mountain cave, then witness two bloody massacres. When he volunteers to drive a captured German ambulance he finds himself carrying his seriously injured Spanish guide to safety amid a fusillade of bullets from so-called friendly Russian fighter aircraft. For Frank, the worst is yet to come.

The story takes place in real time and matches the historical events of the late 1930s. It also features real places such as the villages of Three Mile Bay and Cape Vincent in Northern New York State. In Spain the story is set in Elgeta, Urkiola and Durango which were terror bombed by the Condor Legion, the squadron staffed by German Luftwaffe crews.

The author lived near Three Mile Bay for seven years before spending a year researching North Country history and visiting the battlefields in Spain’s Basque Country earlier this year. The book contains a Portfolio featuring archive photographs of Durango in 1937 and pictures taken by the author in 2014.

It is through the eyes and mind of Jake Barbury, Frank’s brother who stayed at home that the reader gets to understand what is happening on the political and international fronts. Jake uses a short-wave radio to gather information on the war and writes articles criticizing Britain and the United States for non-involvement in the Spanish tragedy.

Twenty-seven countries signed the Non-Intervention Pact refusing to aid the duly elected government of the Second Spanish Republic being overthrown by the Nationalist rebel forces led by General Franco. Two members of the Pact, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy intervened and aided Franco. Russia aided the Republic. “It’s a rehearsal for dark days to come in Europe,” Jake wrote.

The book also contains a resources list for readers who wish to study subjects raised in the novel. Egby who enjoys working in the historical fiction genre says “It was time for me to write about young people in love. Originally the plan was a short story but then the plot and the characters started lives on their own, so I had to go along and it became an 80,000 word novel.” Author Egby is also an independent publisher. His Three Mile Point Publishing is a member of the IBPA – Independent Book Publishers Association, and SPAN, the Small Publishers of North America.

“For the Love of Rose” is his fifth novel and tenth book. Two of his self-help and one dowsing book were named Finalists in the annual USA Best Book Awards. Egby’s books are on display at, Amazon, on Kindle worldwide and at many good bookshops. The author is available for book signings and talks accompanied by PowerPoint illustrations.

FOR THE LOVE OF ROSE: A Journey in Three Worlds
ISBN: 978-0-9848664-5-8 Category: Historical Fiction
Three Mile Point Publishing, Pemberton, New Jersey

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