Take My Hand

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What to expect

‘Shot through with spirit and hope, it’s one hell of a book’ Stylist, Books You Can’t Miss in 2022

Montgomery, Alabama. 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend has big plans to make a difference in her community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she intends to help women make their own choices for their lives and bodies.

But when her first week on the job takes her down a dusty country road to a tumbledown cabin, she’s surprised to find that her new 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 the unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same.

Inspired by true events and a shocking chapter of American history, Take My Hand is a novel that will open your eyes and break your heart. An unforgettable story about love and courage, sisterhood and solidarity, it is also a timely and hopeful reminder that it only takes one person to change the world.

Critics Review

  • “A year never passes without me thinking of them. India. Erica. Their names are stitched inside every white coat I have ever worn. I tell this story to stitch their names inside your clothes, too.” From this devastating (and soon-to-be classic) opening line comes a story that’s based on real-life events exploring the horrifying link between racism and medical ethics. Also shot through with spirit and hope, it’s one hell of a book

    Stylist, The fiction books you can't miss in 2022
  • In her newest novel, Dolen Perkins-Valdez probes the many ways institutional racism and classism inflicts lasting scars, especially on young Black women – and the grace, courage, and love needed to begin to heal those wounds. Deeply empathetic yet unflinching in its gaze, Take My Hand is an unforgettable exploration of responsibility and redemption, the dangers of good intentions, and the folly of believing anyone can decide what’s best for another’s life

    Celeste Ng, bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere
  • A wonderful novel. Moving, powerful and completely absorbing – I cared deeply about all the characters and rooted for them to the last page

    Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love
  • Inspired by a real life case, this is the story of two sisters aged 12 and 14 who were sterilised without consent in Alabama in 1973, a case that shed light on a shocking chapter in American history

    Good Housekeeping, The books we're looking forward to in 2022
  • An utterly gripping tale from start to finish, Take My Hand is storytelling at its finest.

    Glamour UK
  • The magnificent Take My Hand shines a light on a hideous, historically accurate form of government-endorsed racism directed at both young Black women and the disabled, skilfully balancing the horror of people who think they know best against a Black nurse named Civil Townsend who knows better. 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

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