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Take My Hand

By Dolen Perkins-Valdez

An Eye-opening Account of a Shocking Story in American History



1973. Civil Townsend is fresh out of nursing school and is back home in Montgomery, Alabama. Her first job is at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, where 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 first patients are just eleven and thirteen years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black, and for those handling their welfare benefits, that's reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her new responsibilities, she takes India and Erica into her heart and comes to care for their family as though they were her own. But one day, she arrives at their door to discover that something unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same for Civil or these two little girls.


TAKE MY HAND is an eye-opening account of a shocking story in American history. The story reveals a travesty beyond repair that will break your heart. Civil Townsend blows the whistle on events at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic only to learn the issue is more widespread than she could have imagined.

Civil Townsend’s courageous character guides the story thru a gut-wrenching journey of revelation, heartbreak, and a quest for justice. Author Dolen Perkins-Valdez carefully transports us back to a difficult part of our history. Her writing is poignant, thoughtful and moving. TAKE MY HAND is a story that is both tragic and hopeful and one that will remain in your heart forever. This is a must read!

Author Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the New York Times bestselling author of two previous novels, Wench and Balm. She has degrees from Harvard College and George Washington University. She is an Associate Professor at American University and the chair of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation Board of Directors. She lives in Washington, DC with her family.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“In order to heal we must remember, once we remember we must acknowledge, and once we acknowledge we can take more significant action.” -Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Publisher Berkley Publishing Group

Published April 12, 2022

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