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Summary

New York Times best-selling author Morgan Jerkins makes her fiction debut with this electrifying novel, for fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jacqueline Woodson, that brings to life one powerful and enigmatic family in a tale rife with secrets, betrayal, intrigue, and magic. 

Laila desperately wants to become a mother, but each of her previous pregnancies has ended in heartbreak. This time has to be different, so she turns to the Melancons, an old and powerful Harlem family known for their caul, a precious layer of skin that is the secret source of their healing power.

When a deal for Laila to acquire a piece of caul falls through, she is heartbroken, but when the child is stillborn, she is overcome with grief and rage. What she doesn’t know is that a baby will soon be delivered in her family - by her niece, Amara, an ambitious college student - and delivered to the Melancons to raise as one of their own. Hallow is special: She’s born with a caul, and their matriarch, Maman, predicts the girl will restore the family’s prosperity.

Growing up, Hallow feels that something in her life is not right. Did Josephine, the woman she calls mother, really bring her into the world? Why does her cousin Helena get to go to school and roam the streets of New York freely while she’s confined to the family’s decrepit brownstone?

As the Melancons’ thirst to maintain their status grows, Amara, now a successful lawyer running for district attorney, looks for a way to avenge her longstanding grudge against the family. When mother and daughter cross paths, Hallow will be forced to decide where she truly belongs. 

Engrossing, unique, and addicting, Caul Baby illuminates the search for familial connection, the enduring power of tradition, and the dark corners of the human heart.

©2021 Morgan Jerkins (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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Profile Image for Medicmedic
  • Medicmedic
  • 06-05-21

Meh

This was one of my most anticipated books of 2021. At first glance I thought this would be in the same vein as Conjure Women, regarding the midwifery trade and the notion that those born en caul are regarded as highly prized.

This is more of a fantasy. As in they believe those born en caul have an ability to reproduce tissue and regenerate tissue.

The narrator was not the fluid sing song voice, but instead a real voice often placing the strong emphasis on the words, causing the cadence to be off.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jasmaine Kendrick
  • 06-05-21

Absolutely love this story and reader

This story takes us on a journey and speaks to genetrication and Black women issues in a way that is fresh, innovative, and thought provoking. I felt compassion for every character and loved how the story intertwines themes and concepts of grief, loss, community, and survival. Great job!

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  • Mrs Swell
  • 22-04-21

Deeply Rooted, Story of Family & Secrets: Growth & Reckoning

A really great story - timeless yet modern with history, HERstory, myth and legend.
Human nature is explored in a way that led me to deep introspection and new understandings. No two people or situations are alike, yet we all share and are connected and interconnected.

I found the denouement particularly successful.

I especially enjoyed it as I’d just finished Morgan Jenkins’s Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-04-21

Finally I know the power of the Caul

This book was very good it held my interest from beginning to the end. African American families talk about the caul all the time.

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  • Sonya
  • 15-04-21

Not Sure About This One

There’s a lot of what I would call the Louisiana back story mixed in with a modern scenario. There are also a lot of unnecessary details not needed to make the story work. Most puzzling is the last chapter where it was said that no one knew what happened to Josephine followed by a detailed description of what happened to Josephine. Nevertheless the less, I wish Morgan a successful career and look forward to more of her work.