The Weight of a Pearl
Walker Smith, author
A novel of love and war ... so intimate it whispers with feeling .... In 1937, a young trumpet player called Doc leaves Harlem with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight in the Spanish Civil War. Eight hundred miles away, a little girl named Pearl is fighting a child’s war against poverty and paternal abuse in a Chicago tenement. 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?