It is 1918, and Serval Rivard is marching off to war. He isn’t after glory, just respect—despite the humiliating prospect of menial labor in a segregated army. But mounting casualties on the Western Front and a twist of fate result in his reassignment to French command. It is in France that Rivard and his fellow soldiers forever distinguish themselves as “The Harlem Hellfighters.”
After surviving the horrors of No Man’s Land, Rivard returns to his bride and a community on the rise—the literary brilliance of W.E.B. DuBois and Langston Hughes, the pride of Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa Movement, and the glamour of the Cotton Club. But as heartbreaking reports pour into Harlem of black soldiers lynched in the uniforms of their country, it becomes clear that despite the community’s progress and the military accomplishments of the Hellfighters, America’s racial divide remains immutably in place. For Rivard and his family, the Great War has ended, but a new war has begun—the war of the American Color Line.
Walker Smith writes in a unique blend of history, drama, and suspense, delivering the most unknown details of our history through the eyes of unforgettable characters. Her novels include: The Color Line, a Harlem Renaissance/World War I epic; Letters from Rome, a Sankofa journey from ancient Africa to Vietnam; and Bluestone Rondo, a racial Cain and Abel story set to modern jazz. Smith also collaborated with music industry giant Jack the Rapper Gibson on his biography Mello Yello.
Noah Yates fully believes in the joys of a happy family and a good wife. But that's not the life for him. No, he would much rather sail the wild seas in search of adventure, not tied down. But then the unthinkable happens . . . he finds himself literally tied down. To a bed. By a woman.
And Pilar isn't just an ordinary woman. She's descended from pirates. And after giving him one of the worst nights of his life, she steals his ship! Now Noah is on the hunt, and he'll stop at nothing to find this extraordinary woman . . . and make her his.
Andrew Yates has come to a decision: it's time to stop sowing those oats and start a family. But searching for a bride isn't as simple as he'd hoped, and many of the respectable women of his acquaintance feel . . . lacking. Then beautiful, feisty Wilhelmina "Billie" Wells arrives at the family ranch with a toddler in her arms, claiming Drew is the father!
The woman he didn't know he loved . . .
Billie had no choice but to show up at Destiny in search of Drew. For the sake of their child, she's willing to leave him with his father so the boy can have a better life, but then, before she can blink, she's saying "I do" in front of a preacher in a marriage of convenience. All Billie and Drew have in common is the heat that brought them together, but can their sizzling passion lead to an everlasting love?
Valinda Lacy’s mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.
As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But when Valinda’s father demands she return home to marry a man she doesn’t love, her daring rebellion draws Drake into an irresistible intrigue.
As manager of one of the finest hotels in Arizona Territory, Portia Carmichael has respect and stability—qualities sorely missing from her harsh childhood. She refuses to jeopardize that by hitching herself to the wrong man. Suitors are plentiful, but none of them has ever looked quite as tempting as the family friend who just rode into town…and none has looked at her with such intensity and heat.
Duchess. That’s the nickname Kent Randolph gave Portia when she was a young girl. Now she’s a stunning, intelligent woman—and Kent has learned his share of hard lessons. After drifting through the West, he’s learned the value of a place to settle down, and in Portia’s arms he’s found that and more. But convincing her to trust him with her heart, not just her passion, will be the greatest challenge he’s known—and one he intends to win…
Spain’s defeat leads directly to World War II. For the honor of Spain and self, Doc heads off to fight another war. Meanwhile, Pearl discovers the power of her voice and begins her own odyssey.
By 1946, the war is over and New York is sizzling with the sounds of bebop. Doc returns to find peace in the music, but everything changes when the band’s new singer walks into the club. Her voice is as deep and arresting as her dark eyes, and her name takes up residence in his mind. Pearl.
After a turbulent start, they ease into a healing love and claim Harlem as their small piece of America. But soon a new war is rumbling. As a deadly strain of heroin floods their streets, Doc is targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and Pearl falls under the scrutiny of a stalker with a badge. Doc learns that everything is linked, and must revisit a chilling question he still carries from Spain: What constitutes an act of war? And what is he prepared to do about it?
In 1927, a black tenant farmer’s wife gives birth to unusual twins—one is dark and one is light enough to pass for white. Growing up to learn that color is worth more than brotherhood in the Jim Crow South, they fall into a trap that was set for them by generations of racial discord. After a violent fight, Joe disappears and Calvin is convicted for his murder.
As Calvin’s life takes a downward turn, Joe basks in the bright lights of New York as a successful white Jazz singer on 52nd Street. After marrying Magda, the blue-eyed girl of his dreams, his fear of exposure takes a turn for the irrational. The entertainment industry is in a cold-sweat panic over Joseph McCarthy’s Blacklist, and Joe feels threatened by the non-stop radio reports of blacklisted witnesses “naming names.” He is unable to break the moth-and-flame hold of black trumpet player Doc Calhoun and his unforgettable wife Pearl, a paradox of wisdom and heroin addiction. And Joe begins to see his brother in the shadows.
Bluestone Rondo is a story of life-and-death choices—a Jazz masterpiece of love and hate that leads to two volatile plot twists and one fatal showdown.