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Publisher's Summary

“Deeply empathetic yet unflinching in its gaze…an unforgettable exploration of responsibility and redemption.” —Celeste Ng

“Highlights the horrific discrepancies in our healthcare system and illustrates their heartbreaking consequences.” —Essence

Inspired by true events that rocked the nation, a searing and compassionate new novel about a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on a terrible injustice done to her patients, 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.

©2022 Dolen Perkins-Valdez (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“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, number one New York Times best-selling author of Little Fires Everywhere)

“Dolen Perkins-Valdez is a brilliant writer in a class all by herself. I love her voice and how she makes the past feel immediate and relevant, because it is.” (Terry McMillan, number one New York Times best-selling author) 

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, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Flight Attendant and Hour of the Witch

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What listeners say about Take My Hand

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I loved it.

I truly enjoyed this story, it tugged at every emotion. I loved the narrators voice, it really helped make the story more appealing.

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Riveting

Excellently wrote. Even though the characters were made fictional, this really happened. In some places it is still happening. The audacity of the government to take advantage of people this way. I loved the reality of looking at life through 2 sets of eyes. I loved that the family kept going no matter what. They got their foothold and moved on to better. I will say it was a story of The have and the have nots. Sometimes in real life we like Civil try to make it better to only find out that it gets worst. Story was a great testimony of strength, courage, sacrifice, love and determination. Please buy it. I am going to listen to it again. It is 52 chapters of adventure into the world through the eyes of those with and those without, whether its money, education, or self esteem. Sometimes you stand alone but, like Civil you got to keep on pushing.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent Historical Fiction

The immoral and shameful overreach of the U.S. government on the reproductive rights of mostly black and poor women and young girls through forced sterilization is the central focus of this novel told in dual time lines ,1973 and 2016. While these events are mainly told through the experiences of two young black girls aged 11 and 14 and the nurse who tries to save them, there were many other women in the country subjected to these immoral practices at that time. Even in more recent years, “reproductive injustice”took place in California prisons between 2006 and 2010.

This is not just a story that enlightened me, stunned me, educated me, but one that moved me, bringing me to tears thinking about these young girls and women. Taking real events as the inspiration and giving a portrait of the time and place and the emotional and psychological impact on people’s lives is for me a hallmark of good historical fiction. The author in her note indicates what of this novel is based on real events and real people and that made it all the more meaningful. Sad and scary and infuriating how relevant this overreach is even today.

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Awesome!!

Being from Alabama, I knew about the Tuskegee Experiment, but I knew nothing about the State Sterilizing Young Minority Girls & Women. Just another shameful notch in this State's history. I thank Mrs Perkins-Valdez for this book.

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Must read!

This is an absolute must read! The narration was perfect and the story really makes you think. So happy I read this book!

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its an interesting story, but meg

The writing and performance are both meh. It's an interesting enough story, but getting through this book required some dedication.

1 person found this helpful

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The book of the year!

I found myself budgeting my time listening to this book because I didn’t want it to end. Masterfully written!

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One of the greatest novels ever written

This story is one that the reader is totally present in each moment, so much so, that the reader does not want it to end. The narration is nothing short of superb. Everyone should read this book. A real keeper.

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Bravo for performance

I can't say the story ever lagged until the end when it continued for a few chapters after the climax, but it's more of a "gliding to a close" than an "ending" which i came to appreciate more afterwards. I was left feeling like she was grabbing for the last pieces of a puzzle we'd been breathlessly watching her solve.

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Bravo to the Arthur

Enlightening! I had no clue. Sad to say the least. Searching for more reads.