Short Take: Balm – Dolen Perkins-Valdez

From the author of the bestselling Wench comes another well researched, well drawn story of African American lives in the 19th century. This story takes place in both post-Civil War Chicago and rural Kentucky, and follows the lives of three people—black and white–trying to start anew during the Reconciliation.

USA Today calls it “[a] deeply moving, beautifully written novel told from the heart” and Perkins-Valdez will be on NPR’s All Things Considered to discuss the book on May 23rd.

“When Madge, a freeborn black woman from Tennessee skilled in the art of making healing ointments, teas, and balms from herbs and bark, takes a maid’s position with Sadie, an unhappy, white widow in Chicago who speaks with the dead, both women are hesitant to reveal their secrets, remembering past hurts. The two main male characters are equally troubled….In their individual ways, they are all walking wounded—in need of spiritual soothing. The author deftly weaves her characters’ longings with the gritty realities of American life after war’s devastations….Readers who were captivated by Perkins-Valdez’s first novel, Wench, will be intrigued by the post-Civil War lives of three Southern transplants to Chicago.”
— Library Journal

Balm (9780062318657) by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. $25.99 hardcover. 5/26/15 on sale.


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