"Rudean Leinaeng has produced a novel that mines her family history and through it takes us on a journey back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, through Cape Town, Madagascar and back to an intimate New York table where tales of courtship and post chattel slavery are told over cinnamon scones.  Leinaeng is an active listener all along, an invaluable skill when raising ancestors whose stories need sharing."


dream hampton - Executive producer and showrunner for Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly and executive producer for HBO’s It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It and BET’s Finding Justice.

Rudean Leinaeng unfolds a love story told from multiple points of view, allowing each narrator space to weave their thread throughout.  She has taken her family tree and writes vivid recollections of the relationship between Evie and Al, spinning us around so we get a sense of the richness of life before, during, and after WWI.  Leinaeng also carefully unpacks the lives of the Harlem Hellfighters, giving a depth to their existence and bravery.  Each engaging battle explodes into action, allowing for the tender moments to sing true."


Jason Moran - Jazz pianist, composer, and educator; Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center; MacArthur Fellow; scored Academy Award nominated films by Ava DuVernay: SELMA and 13th.


"Rudean Leinaeng's Coal, War & Love movingly captures the lives and love of two African-Americans in the early years of the 20th century before, during, and after World War I, lifting the curtain on an era and the strivings of a people.


Pamela Newkirk - Journalist, professor and author of Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga; and

Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media