Book Buzz: Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins

“A debut novel that blends family drama with magic.” ―Time Magazine



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 page-turning, Caul Baby illuminates the search for familial connection, the enduring power of tradition, and the dark corners of the human heart.

“Caul Baby is a deeply inventive meditation on survival and inheritance. Morgan writes about the intricacies of Black motherhood in a way that is tender and at times, magic.”
―Raven Leilani, New York Times bestselling author of Luster

Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins

352 Pages

ISBN 9780062873088


Morgan Jerkins is the author of Wandering in Strange Lands and the New York Times bestseller This Will Be My Undoing and a Senior Culture Editor at ESPN’s The Undefeated. Jerkins is a visiting professor at Columbia University and a Forbes 30 Under 30 leader in media, and her short-form work has been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Elle, Esquire, and The Guardian, among many other outlets. She is based in Harlem.