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First-time local Jewish author publishes historical novel

Kansas Citian Jay Macey Rosenblum is no stranger to history. Long after earning his bachelor’s degree in Western European History, Rosenblum continued his lifelong interest of studying the past. And after more than 20 years of listening to a story play in his head, he decided to put pen to paper and wrote a book he hopes will live with readers for decades to come.

{mprestriction ids="1"}"The French Lieutenant and the King of Rome" is a historical romance novel set in German-occupied France during World War II. An extensive traveler of Europe, Rosenblum read about and visited historical sites in Paris and discovered a reference to Napoleon’s son, which is what sparked the idea for the book.

"I wasn’t familiar with his genealogy," Rosenblum said. "So I researched and learned Napoleon’s son came to be called ‘King of Rome.’ "

This ‘King’ did not live a long life, nor an eventful one. He was a product of a forced marriage between the Emperor of Austria’s daughter and Napoleon, yet did not inherit the fighting spirit of his father. He spent his short life in Austria.

"In the early stages of World War II, Hitler had the notion if he returned Napoleon’s son’s casket to France, that he would gain French sympathy. It didn’t work. And that’s the apex of the book, the return of the body," Rosenblum said.

The storyline is interwoven into the historical period and the characters have presence in historical occurrences. The writing process took five years and lots of research but Rosenblum said he enjoyed every part of it.

"I always had a penchant for writing," he said. "But I didn’t think I had the ability."

It took a meeting with and encouragement from a visiting author for Rosenblum to write down the story that had been living inside him for more than two decades.

The book is available on Amazon in print and electronic versions and has received a positive Kirkus Review. Rosenblum is in the process of learning how to market the book, which he said is something completely foreign to him.

"Promoting the book is a new area for me, but it’s enchanting," he said.

Rosenblum has also written a collection of poetry in iambic pentameter "about stages of life" and intends to publish that as well. As for another novel?

"I probably will not write another. If I get this off the ground, and that will take some time, I don’t know if I’d have time. Plus, I don’t have a story in mind now," he said. "This story — ‘The French Lieutenant and the King of Rome" — just caught me. And looking at it after I wrote it, I still think it’s a good piece of work. Whether it gets recognition, we will see. It’s hard getting recognition as a first-time writer."

Rosenblum has experienced success in other areas of his life. He earned his Juris Doctorate then practiced law for 57 years. He was in the Air Force during the Korean War, although he never went overseas. During his tenure, he served as legal officer in the General’s Office and was a captain in the reserves until the ’60s.

Born in Kansas City, Rosenblum attended the University of Missouri for both of his degrees and ever since has continued exercising his passion for learning. He is an avid reader and said he enjoys British women’s literature, especially works by Jane Austen and the Brontes.

In addition to navigating the marketing waters, Rosenblum tried his hand at design and worked closely with an artist on his book cover. He said, "Like the book title, the cover is a mystery and I am happy to have it that way."

For more information on "The French Lieutenant and the King of Rome" visit amazon.com.{/mprestriction}