May Book Release: Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

My wish, along with the wishes of other lovers of historical fiction, has come true. New York Times best-selling author, Dolen Perkins-Valdez has penned her second novel. Just in time for a summer read, Balm is scheduled for release this month. After I reluctantly and gingerly closed the back cover of her 2010 Wench, I ended my review (revived on this blog) with an observation and a hope:

I did not want this story to end. One critique I have is that the expanse of time between major events began to decrease toward the end — as if the author were trying to “hit all the bases” before heading home. But my “critique” is hardly a negative one. It’s an indication that I’m waiting for more from Perkins-Valdez.

Now, only a few days remain before the May 26 release of the New York Times best-selling author’s second historical novel, Balm. When I learned at the beginning of the year that Perkins-Valdez had completed her second novel, I wondered if she would continue the Ohio resort saga told in Wench.


The overviews I’ve read introduce new characters into the author’s creatively-woven tale of life after slavery. The setting of this novel is also in the Midwest. However, the author exchanges a summer at the Tawawa House Resort of Ohio for a post-Civil War Chicago saga of a suddenly-wealthy widow who discovers she can communicate with the dead, a gifted healer who becomes the widow’s servant, and a freed slave who is seeking his wife who was sold away during slavery.

On the dawn of Reconstruction, Sadie, Madge, and Hemp have “come to Chicago in search of a new life.” Being a Midwesterner who worked and socialized in Chicago, I’m looking forward to seeing if I can identify with the locales the author chooses as settings for their experiences. In addition to accurate weather descriptions, I’m also looking forward to picking up some background on various landmarks. No doubt my Hoosier roots will bring this story closer to the heart of my family research origins.

I encourage any genealogist with ties to slavery to read Wench. After doing so, you will, no doubt, want to add Balm to your TBR.

Book Cover for Balm by Dolen Perkins--Valdez

Balm by Dolen Perkins–Valdez

Publishers Weekly Overview of Balm

Copyright © 2015 Donna Palmer Haines

2 thoughts on “May Book Release: Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

  1. Pingback: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez | a Commonplace STUDIO

  2. Pingback: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez | Daughter of Slave Ancestry

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