"A powerful novel inspired by our nation’s past…a tale of individual loves, longings, and losses bound together by the healing balm of hope. Perkins-Valdez truly captures the American spirit." - New York Journal of Books
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, but she cannot heal her own damaged heart. Sadie can commune with the dead, but until she makes peace with her father, she, too, cannot fully engage her gift. Hemp arrives in this northern city Searching for his missing family. 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 a desperate, unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest.
Appropriate for grades 9 and up.
Lesson plans for Balm are currently in development.