Friday, May 29, 2015

Balm
by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Publisher: Amistad
Pages: 288
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  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. 



Kritters Thoughts: 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.

This was a weird combination of magical realism and historical fiction.  If you have followed this blog for some time you know I am a sucker for historical fiction, but magical realism isn't usually cup of tea.  I was intrigued to see the combination of women who could heal and see spirits with the Civil War and it just didn't do it for me.  

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Ebook 2015 Challenge: 36 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


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