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Summary

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 11 and 13 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.

©2022 Dolen Perkins-Valdez (P)2022 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"Shot through with spirit and hope, it's one hell of a book." (Stylist, Books You Can't Miss in 2022)

What listeners say about Take My Hand

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  • Overall
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Moving thought provoking

This book made me feel ashamed as a 58 yr white woman with education knew nothing of the atrocities perpetrated on black and poor people saying that I loved the book and plan to look for more books of this genre

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating!

So interesting....couldn't wait to finish to read the author's note. Everyone needs to understand history!

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Heartbreaking

A beautiful heart wrenching tale of the sickening injustices forced upon young girls in the USA.
A must read!

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Upsetting that this is based on true facts!

Quite an eye opening story,although fictional it is based on true facts which are alarming that they happened so recently! Apart from this it was still a heart warming story in how Civil cared for those children.

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Thought provoking subject

Gentle Easy listen to narrator... Thought provoking subject... It is not that long ago.

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Shocking and thought provoking.


The story is built around fictional characters but based on true events. Totally shocking in its revelations but gripping, the story engages you all the way with the sheer injustice and the racist and superior attitudes of the time. I didn't want to stop listening - the narration was superb too. I highly recommend this book.

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Loved this - and beautifully read

I was totally gripped by this story right from the start, even though it is largely fiction it is based on some true and shocking facts but is told with great empathy with all kinds of interesting issues coming up. I really recommend it and it’s an easy listen because it’s so beautifully read.

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Powerful and relevant even today

One of the better audio books, an engaging listen and a heartbreaking story which sadly is still relevant today. Performances were fantastic and enjoyable writing style.

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excellent, thought provoking book

Can't believe this was happening in the 1970s. Well written, easy to listen to and worthwhile downloading.

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Loved it!

A thought-provoking fictional account based on real life racism in Southern US! Well written & well read!