Regular price: $28.51

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Wench returns to the Civil War era to explore the next chapter of history - the trauma of the war and the end of slavery - in this powerful story of love and healing about three people who struggle to overcome the pain of the past and define their own future.

The Civil War has ended, and Madge, Sadie, and Hemp has 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. To mend herself and help those in need, she must return to Tennessee to face the women healers who rejected her as a child.

Sadie can commune with the dead, but until she makes peace with her father, she, too, cannot fully engage her gift.

Searching for his missing family, Hemp arrives in this Northern city that shimmers with possibility. 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.

Beautiful in its historical atmosphere and emotional depth, Balm is a stirring novel of love, loss, hope, and reconciliation set during one of the most critical periods in American history.

©2015 Dolen Perkins-Valdez (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    13
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    4
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I thought we'd see more of the Wench Characters

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I wished that we saw what happened to the characters from the author's book. Also, the narrator tended to fall in to a baby voice that drove me insane. Even with that, this was a great experience and I would listen to it again!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Painfully slow @ times

This book didn't keep my attention the way her first book did. It was painfully slow @ times. I felt like the author used more words just to take up space. I'm happy I made it to the end but there were certainly many unanswered questions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Just Could Not Connect

Would you try another book from Dolen Perkins-Valdez and/or Lisa Renee Pitts?

I tried and I tried to "understand" this book but I just could not connect to any of the characters' storyline. How strange it was. I tried but will not read anything else from Dolen Perkins-Valdez nor do I ever want to hear anything else narrated by Lisa Renee Pitts. Sorry. Just being honest.

Would you ever listen to anything by Dolen Perkins-Valdez again?

No. I will not. Wench was okay but it too was a tad better than this book.

Would you be willing to try another one of Lisa Renee Pitts’s performances?

No. I would not.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Balm?

I did not get the flow of the story. The whole thing should have been scrapped and started anew.

Any additional comments?

No.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Strange and boring

What disappointed you about Balm?

The story was marginally interesting, but the flat character development and disjointed narrative made it impossible to suspend belief and become immersed in the book. The weak storyline was made that much worse by the terrible narration. Ms. Pitts' voice was actually irritating; like a mosquito trapped in a jar.

What was most disappointing about Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s story?

The lack of interest Ms. Perkins-Valdez had in her own characters. It felt like they were uninvited guest who showed up to spoil a perfectly nice party.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I listened to this audiobook while running. At one point, the battery in my iPhone ran down while I was listening to Balm in mid-workout and I was actually glad that the annoying sound of the narrator stopped. I have listened to audiobooks where the poor narration detracted from the listening experience, but this was my first experience where the narration was painful to listen to.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Balm?

I would have sent the outline back to the author with instructions to start over.

Any additional comments?

First audiobook in years I just couldn't finish. I gritted my teeth and waited out the first six hours and then threw in the towel.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I liked this as much as I remember liking Wench.

I liked this as much as I remember liking Wench.

If you’re like me, I have to be in the proper mood to read about anything to do with the American Civil War and slavery, due in large part to my african-american heritage. I read this in companion with a Civil War non-fiction book called “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy” which is about women and how they contributed to the war effort on both sides.



This book follows the story of 3 people and how they get on with life during the Reconstruction period in Chicago, a wealthy White widow, a free Black woman and a man who is a former slave.



I mostly enjoyed this book. There were some interactions between some of the characters that was a little icky- the boundary of consent in particular- but over all the characters are lively and likable.