Book Review, Book talk, Uncategorized

Book Review: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez


A searing and compassionate new novel about a young Black nurse’s shocking discovery and burning quest for justice in post-segregation Alabama, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wench.

Montgomery, Alabama, 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend intends to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she hopes to help women shape their destinies, to make their own choices for their lives and bodies. But when her first week on the job takes her along a dusty country road to a worn-down one-room cabin, Civil is shocked to learn that her new patients, Erica and India, are children–just eleven and thirteen years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black, and for those handling the family’s welfare benefits, that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her role, she takes India, Erica, and their family into her heart. Until one day she arrives at their door to learn the unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same for any of them. Decades later, with her daughter grown and a long career in her wake, Dr. Civil Townsend is ready to retire, to find her peace, and to leave the past behind. But there are people and stories that refuse to be forgotten. That must not be forgotten. Because history repeats what we don’t remember.

Inspired by true events and brimming with hope, Take My Hand is a stirring exploration of accountability and redemption.



First, thank you to Dolen Perkins-Valdez and Berkley Publishing for the free copy. I was over the moon ecstatic and so grateful to receive it.

What an amazing story! Very well written. I could imagine the entire cast of characters. The novel is thought-provoking and touching. As Civil tries to help the Williams sisters, she learns about herself. A great tale of reflection. When does help become overstepping? This is something that Civil has to try to figure out as she navigates a new world.

This novel covers themes/motifs including but not limited to: identity, classism, sterilization, inclusion, young adult love, family, and mental illness.
Although this seems like a lot, everything was carefully and skillfully executed. I really didn’t want this to end.

This novel would be great to use in schools as it is based loosely on real-life events.

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