Balm Cover


By Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Amistad Press, Hardcover, 9780062318657, 288pp.

Publication Date: May 26, 2015


Powerful characters and exquisite prose bring to life a tumultuous period of American history that still demands our attention. Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl

The Civil War has ended, and Madge, Sadie, and Hemp have each come to Chicago in search of a new life. Born with magical hands, Madge has the power to discern others suffering and ease it, but she cannot heal her own damaged heart. To mend herself and continue to help those in need, she must return to Tennessee to face the women healers who rejected her as a child.

Sadie can commune with the dead, but until she makes peace with her father, she, too, cannot fully engage her gift.

Searching for his missing family, Hemp arrives in this northern city that shimmers with possibility. But redemption cannot be possible until he is reunited with those taken from him.

In the bitter aftermath of a terrible, bloody war, as a divided nation tries to come together once again, Madge, Sadie, and Hemp will be caught up in an unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest.

A powerful novel inspired by our nation's past. New York Journal of Books

The complexity of her characters and visual power of her prose make for riveting reading. Valerie Martin, author of The Ghost of the Mary Celeste.

About the Author
Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Wench. In 2011 she was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction. She was also awarded the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She lives in Washington, D.C. @Dolen /

Saturday, Jun 6, 2015

In her new novel, Dolen Perkins-Valdez wanted to look beyond the traditional frame for Civil War stories. Her book is set in Chicago and opens as the nation is struggling to heal. More at

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