Take My Hand

Dolen Perkins-Valdez

380 pages April 2022 manuscript

Represented by Stephanie Cabot

Winner of the 2023 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction

An Amazon Top 20 Book of the Year and Editors’ Choice

Take My Hand reminds us that truly extraordinary fiction is rarely written merely to entertain. More often, the novelist builds the story like a house, then open windows, slams doors, demolishes walls to reveal all its boards and bones laid bare right under the surface for the reader. Perkins-Valdez has done a fine job of building a structure and scaffolding that will not only endure but also bear the weight of future writers yearning to bring the past to readers afresh.”

The Washington Post

Montgomery, Alabama. 1973.

Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend has big plans to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she intends to help women make their own choices for their lives and bodies.

But on her first week on the job, she’s surprised to find that her new patients 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 to the system, that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her new responsibilities, she takes India, Erica, and their family into her heart. Until one day she arrives at their door to discover the unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same.


“Magnificent. It is Civil’s determination and resilience that imbue the book with undeniable power and grace. I cheered out loud!” — Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry 

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 #1 Bestselling Author of The Flight Attendant and Hour of the Witch

“The kind of rare, elevating, illuminating, useful art that we would all do well to grasp for dear life.”— Robert Jones Jr., Bestselling author of The Prophets

“Deeply empathetic yet unflinching in its gaze… An unforgettable exploration of responsibility and redemption.” —Celeste Ng, #1 bestselling 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

“Perkins-Valdez’s latest is a piercing look into a shameful moment in America’s history, and could not be more timely. Her electrifying, masterful novel brims with fierce compassion and deserves attention and accolades galore. I will be recommending it to everyone I know.”—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue

“This powerful novel finds the humanity in one of the most inhumane chapters of American history. Take My Hand will enrage you. It will illuminate you. It just might redeem you. In the process, it will take your breath away. I don’t say this often, but it’s a must-read.” Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

“Delicate and poetic, Dolen manages to fuse beauty and tragedy in her work, which makes her a masterful storyteller and gifted writer. In this story, Dolen speaks eloquently for those who, in being denied the right of having a choice and agency over their bodies, have lost their voice. This haunting tale, captured through the lens of an unforgettable narrator and a cast of memorable characters, will stay with you for a very, very long time.” —Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of bestselling novels Patsy and Here Comes the Sun

Take My Hand will break your heart and lift your soul… Dolen Perkins-Valdez is a consummate storyteller: profound, transcendent, heart-wrenching.”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code

“Moving, important and timely. A perfect book-club pick.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Exiles

“A Black nurse working at a family clinic in ’70s Alabama discovers two poor, young girls are being prescribed birth control in this impressive historical epic. Valdez’s story and characters are deeply affecting and call attention to the importance of recognizing history’s dark moments.”—Newsweek

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