Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Balm: A Novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

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 and ease it, but she cannot heal her own damaged heart. To mend herself and continue to 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 an unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest.

my thoughts:

Balm is the perfect blend of historical fiction and magical realism.  Set in Chicago, following the Civil War, this novel introduces us to three unforgettable characters - Sadie, Madge, and Hemp.  Through this trio we are able to get a glimpse into the various ways people are "moving on" following the war.  Sadie is now widowed and monied.  She finds herself in a new place and home, attempting to adjust to her new life when she discovers a hidden talent.  A young soldier that passed away during the war can speak to and through Sadie - yep, she's a medium.  Madge on the other hand was born a healer - she can touch someone and heal them.  She grew up learning about the different herbs and remedies that can be used to help heal people.  And now she wants to learn more about her gift.  As for Hemp, he's searching for the wife and daughter he lost during the war - they were sold into slavery before he was declared a free man.  He's hoping to find them in Chicago.  Each character will struggle with their new life in a new city.  They will find themselves caught up in new dramas, new people, and new experiences.  And through these ups and downs, they will connect and wind up helping one another. 

Perkins-Valdez has written a beautiful story that is rich with vivid descriptions, engaging characters, and fascinating narratives.  It oozes with creativity, magic, and history. I absolutely loved it!  I would most definitely recommend this fantastic novel to fans of Perkins-Valdez' debut novel Wench (which explored life during the Civil War), fans of historical fiction, and fans of magical realism. You will be so glad you read this book!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Balm
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


Carole said...

Hi Nadia, looks like a fab book! It would be great if you added your review to the Books You Loved: June collection over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers

Lark said...

I really liked Wench. (A book much better than it's title would suggest!)
Balm sounds very unique and different. But if it's as good as Wench, count me in. Thanks for your post. I've now got another book to add to my summer reading list...which is filling up fast! :)

bermudaonion said...

I think my book club friends would adore this book!

Nadia said...

Carole, thanks so much! It really is a great book - check it out!

Lark, I know what you mean about the title :) Definitely read it - you are going to LOVE it!! My summer reading list is crazy, but there are just too many good books to not add to it.

Kathy, that is awesome! I think it would make for a great book club discussion :)

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I loved her previous book WENCH so I'll definitely be checking this one out. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Lisa said...

I think the only author who does magical realism that I can read is Isabel Allende but now I'm adding Perkins-Valdez because I'm having no problems with this one despite the magical realism. But, as you say, the writing is just so beautiful, I think I would read almost any genre written so well.