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Hidden truth: Woodstock author reveals area war stories in four-book series

Retired United Methodist pastor Robert Brookover holds a copy of his book
Retired United Methodist pastor Robert Brookover, who has lived in Woodstock and Winchester, holds a copy of his book, "Wish is My Master: The Honor of Love," the first in a four-book series about families affected by the Civil War. Brookover plans to visit the Shenandoah Valley this month as part of his book tour. Courtesy photo (Buy photo)

Book tour dates

  • Sept. 18 — Sale and signing at the Winchester Civil War Museum, 8:30-10 a.m.; sale and signing at the Edinburg Ole Time Festival, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Sept. 20 — Program and signing at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival luncheon, 12 p.m.; program and signing at the Manassas Museum, 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 — Program at the Winchester Lions Club luncheon, noon.
  • Sept. 22 — Program at the Woodstock Rotary Club luncheon, noon.

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

The tale may take place 150 years ago, but the author is using the latest method to get his book to readers.

Robert Brookover, a retired pastor who has lived in Woodstock and Winchester, is offering his book online for hard-copy purchase and for electronic reader downloads. It is also being sold in museums, at book signings and on his website, www.robertbrookover.com.

"Wish is My Master: The Honor of Love," is the first of a four-book series.

"The title comes from a letter a 19-year-old Confederate soldier wrote whose great-niece was a member of my church in Elkton, Va.," Brookover said in a telephone interview from his Tampa, Fla., home. "He wrote that opening sentence [in] a letter to his mother."

Brookover has this sentence from the letter on his website: "Dear Mother: I suppose you have forgotten me as you do not write anymore, but I think about you all every day and wish to be there, but wish is my master."

The young man, Charles Kite, was killed 31⁄2 months later at Chancellorsville on the same day as Stonewall Jackson, Brookover said.

According to his site, the novel tells of the love that develops between an orphaned young man and a young woman whose father is pro-slavery. The couple face challenges to their future together, and the young woman becomes opposed to slavery.

Brookover, who was a minister at Woodstock United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church in Winchester, said the grand-niece of the real-life letter writer showed him the jacket the young man had been killed in.

The woman's grandfather went to Chancellorsville, dug up the man's body and brought it back home for burial in the family cemetery, Brookover said. The jacket is now on display at the Miller Kite Museum in Elkton.

Born in Philadelphia, Brookover moved to Woodbridge in the ninth grade, and went to Randolph-Macon College.

"I began to hear stories about the war that didn't jibe with the history I knew and had learned," he said.

Brookover began gathering as many Civil War and family lore stories as he could. The result is his four-book series -- all include "Wish is My Master" in their titles -- that took a total of nine years to write. They span the time just before the war till just after.

Brookover, who used to drink coffee every morning at Walton & Smoot Pharmacy in Woodstock, praised his publishing house, Insyst.

"They just really have helped me to understand how to go about this," he said.

The printer and publisher advised Brookover not to put his novel in bookstores.

"[They] wanted me to make personal appearances and do book signings," he said. "They kept telling me bookstores do not sell books, authors do. I'm speaking 12 times in nine days."

Starting Wednesday, Brookover will be touring Virginia.

"Wish is My Master" is available at www.amazon.com and his site, and should be available at Barnes & Noble in the future. The second book in the series will be available in March.

The four-book series is all he plans to write on the Civil War, though he is also seeking publication of a novel set in 1753 about a College of William and Mary professor and two contemporary thrillers set in Virginia.

"I've included all the stories and excerpts from letters I have," Brookover said. "I just don't have any other stories.

"It's been wonderful having something like this in retirement, to be able to write and then do these book tours."


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