Wednesday, March 20, 2013


                                                       A Novel
                                                  R. Ira Harris

            Intrigue and adventure, armed struggle and forbidden love intersect amid the Castro revolution in 1950s Cuba in R. Ira Harris’s novel ISLAND OF THE WHITE ROSE  (Bridge Works Publishing Co., Aug. 1, 2013, $24.95, hard cover).

            With Cuba in the headlines now as power moves from Castro to a new generation, Cuban-born authorities in the United States have praised the authenticity of this “gripping story of love, faith, betrayal, and revolution,” as Florida International University’s president emeritus, Dr. Modesto A. Maidique, describes it. Guillermo Martinez, co-editor of Cubans: An Epic Journey, calls it “a good page-turner…that depicts the true story of many Cuban youths who risked their lives to oust a brutal dictatorship,” that of Fulgencio Batista, only to find it replaced by another ruthless regime.

            Father Pedro Villanueva, 34, the novel’s protagonist, son of an upper-middle-class Havana family, is initially non-political but agrees to try to free a parishioner’s son from La Cabaña prison. He and his brother Alberto bribe guards at the prison, the prisoner is released, but Pedro’s brother is killed in the handover. Pedro then joins with the underground to support the Fidelistas fighting in the Sierra Maestra.

            Two attractive women of the underground, Dolores Barré and María Guerra, persuade Pedro first to obtain medicines for the rebels, later to smuggle arms to them aboard his family’s 40-foot-sloop,  The White Rose (named after a poem by José Martí, a 19th century national hero, in which the white rose symbolizes Cuba and its brightest aspirations). As Pedro’s involvement with the revolution grows, taking him into the mountains, gun in hand, his priestly ethics and his celibacy vows are sacrificed. After Batista flees the country and Castro’s forces take power, Pedro sees some close to him demonized, he comes to realize he has traded his core beliefs for disillusionment—and The White Rose, with Pedro at the helm, secretly slips off on a new mission.  

About the Author--

R. Ira Harris, an attorney living in Sacramento, has spent his adult life closely associated with the study of the struggles of the Cuban people.  

[More information about the author can be found on his blog at   and on his author website at]

About the Publisher—

            Bridge Works is a 21-year-old independent publisher that has discovered and first published such successful authors as Tom Perrotta (whose subsequent Election and later Little Children were bestsellers and were made into hit feature films); Alan Isler (whose The Prince of West End Avenue won the National Jewish Book Award and was runner-up for the National Book Critics Circle’s fiction award); Lorna Landvik; and Claire Cook (whose subsequent Must Love Dogs was made into a feature film). Bridge Works titles, in addition to the above Alan Isler recognition, have won Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award for best mystery; have been finalists for the Barnes & Noble annual Discover Great New Writers Award and ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award; and have been among The New York Times Notable Books of the Year.

            Bridge Works’ books are distributed nationally by National Book Network to wholesalers, retail chains, independent booksellers, and other outlets. Bridge Works’ books, including Island of the White Rose, are published simultaneously as e-books and are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other e-book retailers.

 Additional information can be found at

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