20th century, African-American women, Alabama, eugenics, involuntary sterilization, legal fiction, race relations, reproductive rights, United States
Montgomery, Alabama, 1973. Inspired by true events, this story pulls us into the world of newly graduated nurse Civil Townsend who is bursting with optimism to change the impoverished lives of her patients only to become immersed in the appalling practices of the federal health care system. You will remember Civil and her 2 first young girl patients long after the last page.
“A jewel of a book…Perkins-Valdez’s grasp of large historical themes is matched by her attention to her characters’ lives, their existence so meticulously rendered that you can smell the fetid air of the Williams’s country hovel and the scent of the girls freshly bathed and slathered with cocoa butter….Take My Hand reminds us that truly extraordinary fiction is rarely written merely to entertain…Perkins-Valdez has done a fine job of building a structure and scaffolding that will not only endure but also bear the weight of future writers yearning to bring the past to readers afresh.”—Washington Post
“Inspired by true events this story highlights the horrific discrepancies in our healthcare system and illustrates their heartbreaking consequences.”—Essence
“Take My Hand is a gem: one of those rare and beautiful novels that walks the balance beam of heartbreak and hope. Dolen Perkins-Valdez demonstrates once again the way she can breathe life into history through fiction that adds deep and profound meaning to the past — and makes its relevance to the present meaningful and clear.”—Chris Bohjalian, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Flight Attendant and Hour of the Witch
“In her newest novel, Dolen Perkins-Valdez probes the many ways institutional racism and classism inflicts lasting scars, especially on young Black women—and the grace, courage, and love needed to begin to heal those wounds. Deeply empathetic yet unflinching in its gaze, Take My Hand is an unforgettable exploration of responsibility and redemption, the dangers of good intentions, and the folly of believing anyone can decide what’s best for another’s life.”—Celeste Ng, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere