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Balm: A Novel Audiobook, by Dolen Perkins-Valdez Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Dolen Perkins-Valdez Narrator: Lisa Reneé Pitts Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2015 ISBN: 9780062395160
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Effectively reveals the emotional injury suffered by everyone following the Civil War. All of the characters came alive and I cared for them deeply. That, to me, is the best kind of book.”

    Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author

  • Balm is a fiercely creative and exquisitely rendered novel. In sweeping prose…Their journeys of love, loss, and reconciliation become your journeys. A must-read.”

    Lalita Tademy, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A deeply moving, beautifully written novel told from the heart.”

    USA Today

  • “Gorgeously written…the perfect post-Charleston novel.”

    Washington Post

  • “A powerful novel inspired by our nation’s past…a tale of individual loves, longings, and losses bound together by the healing balm of hope. Perkins-Valdez truly captures the American spirit.”

    New York Journal of Books

  • “Lisa Reneé Pitts narrates this moving audiobook with a deliberate pace and arduously precise pronunciation…fitting for the story of three people who strive to find their identities amid difficult circumstances in post-Civil-War Chicago.”


  • “Dolen Perkins-Valdez is an ambitious writer who looks to the past with a calm gaze and a sympathetic heart…The complexity of her characters and visual power of her prose make for riveting reading.”

    Valerie Martin, author of Property

  • “Full of love and loss, meaning and mystery, Balm draws you into a world in tumultuous transition…one that you will find impossible to forget.”

    Pearl Cleage, author of Things I Should Have Told My Daughter

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About the Author

Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s fiction and essays have appeared in Robert Olen Butler Prize Stories 2009, The Kenyon Review, PMS: PoemMemoirStory, North Carolina Literary Review, and the Richard Wright Newsletter. She is a former University of California postdoctoral fellow and graduate of Harvard. Perkins-Valdez lives in Washington DC with her family.

About the Narrator

Lisa Renee Pitts is an award-winning actress in theater, television, and film, as well as an accomplished audiobook narrator and an AudioFile Earphones Award winner.