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Jill Surprenant Advocates for Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Jill Surprenant Advocates for Dolen Perkins-Valdez Picture

Take My Hand, by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, is a compassionate and intriguing novel of historical fiction, inspired by shocking true events. The story follows Civil (not Sybil!) as she navigates the murky waters of a new career, a broken romance, and eventually a moral dilemma that will forever change the trajectory of her life. She is a newly minted nurse, the only child of a doctor and an artist, and a woman of color in southern Alabama during the tumultuous, post-segregation 1970s.

Hailing from an upper-middle class family, she finds herself faced with an unthinkable reality as her job reveals troublesome secrets and coverups---along with allies and adversaries in equal measure. Her earnest motivations to help underprivileged rural women rapidly evolve to an ethical quandary as appalling as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study scandal. This captivating narrative defies stereotypes of time and place, following a unique storyline as its protagonist bravely struggles to do the right thing. Dolen Perkins-Valdez masterfully weaves a tale of mystery, family, friendship, and self-discovery while bringing this historical injustice to light for readers.