Balm: A Novel

Balm: A Novel

by Dolen Perkins-Valdez


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The New York Times bestselling author of Wench returns to the Civil War era to explore the next chapter of history—the trauma of the War and the end of slavery—in this powerful story of love and healing about three people who struggle to overcome the pain of the past and define their own future.

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, but she cannot heal her own damaged heart. To mend herself and 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 a desperate, unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest.

Beautiful in its historical atmosphere and emotional depth, Balm is a stirring novel of love, loss, hope, and reconciliation set during one of the most critical periods in American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062318657
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/26/2015
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

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 /

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Balm: A Novel 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story centers on three people who have survived the civil war, Madge, Sadie and Hemp. Sadie is a white woman, Madge a free black woman and Hemp, freed male slave. Somehow their lives become merged together; Sadie the mystic, Madge the healer and Hemp a man looking for his lost family. There are so many twists and turns in this book. The beginning is slow but by the middle of the book, the story comes together. I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to other books by the author. She is very talented and is a story teller. I read her first book, The Wench and also liked the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the free sample and was not drawn in.. But I purchased anyway because subject was interesting and i had really liked her other book, Wench. I got halfway through and gave up. Story jumped around too much, characters not developed .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read both books and agree with the previous reviewer that the characters were not developed enough. The "fade to black" ending was diappointing. To me, it was a paage turner gone bad. Wench was much better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Three main characters: Sadie is a widow who can talk to dead soldiers and slaves and people and has moved from Pennsylvania to Chicago into the home of her deceased husband; Madge is a born free "colored" woman who comes from a line of women who can heal people and has moved from Tennessee to Chicago to escape her mother and aunts and start her own life; finally there is Hemp and he is a newly free "colored" man who is trying to find his wife and daughter who were sold right before he was freed and hopes to find them in Chicago. These three characters will intersect from the beginning and will each help each other in various ways. I appreciated that these characters were in and out of each other's lives from the beginning. I also appreciated the secondary characters that surrounded them that had almost full stories of their own.