The Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings Summary

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world—and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love. As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements. Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better. This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved. ...



Book Reviews

stew1020

Good read4 star

It was a good story, I now want to learn more about Sarah.45

Littleb_21

Beautiful prose, fascinating story5 star

I loved Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Secret Life of Bees” so I knew I would love this book too. I was not disappointed. I didn’t really care what the story was about, I purchased this book just on the strength of the author’s previous books. I was surprised to find, once I read the author’s notes at the end of the book, that this was a work of historical fiction that revealed quite a bit of fact. I did recognize some of the names in the story, but I thought it was coincidence. In fact, the two sisters who were the main protagonists were quite famous women in their own right in pre Civil War days. Their slave, Handful, was also a real person, though Monk Kidd expanded her role to beautifully tell the full story. This story brings not only the Grimke sisters to light, but also forces each of us to question our personal roles when injustice of any kind raises its ugly head. Could I be as brave as either of the Grimke sisters or Handful? We are not so far from this chapter in American history that it is not completely relevant to our choices dealing with the social ills we face today. It is not a preachy book but it is a book that demands more of the reader than just enjoying wonderful prose in a fully realized story arc.55

amaisa

Awesome simply amazing5 star

This book brought me to tears! Such a great read!55

Mel bookworm

The Invention of Wings5 star

Growing up in a suburb on the west side of Chicago, slavery was an abhorrent subject we studied in history class, learned that the Civil War was fought over it, but fortunately, never experienced first-hand. I was always glad I grew up as a Northerner whose ancestors never participated in slavery. In fact, my parents’ families struggled through the Great Depression, with several family members out of work, losing homes, stuffing paper in the bottom of shoes that were too small for them, and feeling fortunate to have hand-me-down clothes to wear, even if they didn’t fit or were shabby. Reading this book was an excruciating experience in how inhumane some people could be to other human beings, just because of the color of their skin. Although the Bible describes slavery going back to Noah, it is difficult to believe such inhumanity could be inflicted on people in America. Yet, it happened. While this is a story of fiction, the lives of the characters are so vivid, their experiences so brutal, the trauma so real, the story will permanently alter my perspective of history. This is no longer a subject learned in class, but a national tragedy.55

Jeangirlk

Beautiful, brilliant5 star

The characterization is superb. An unforgettable story —it will stay with you long after you read the last page.55

KathyIquilt

The Invention of Wings5 star

So glad I didn’t pass this powerful book by. Highly recommend this heart wrenching powerful story. We need more women today like the Grimke sisters.55

Mastiff gal

Exceptional !5 star

I could not put this book down. Wonderful story along with historical happenings.55

Flo 256

Great story telling5 star

I was interested to learn that much of this book is factual. Although the subject matter is at times gruesome, it is a superbly written story with captivating characters. Highly recommended!55

bjacea

The Invention of Wings5 star

This was wonderful, sad and touching. Would highly recommend.55

Birdgirl2016

Totally absorbing5 star

If you’ve ever lived in Charleston or walked its streets, you had to have wondered what the city was like during its plantation days. Sue Monk Kidd takes you into that time with two perspectives: that of Sarah, the daughter of a judge high in the realm of Charleston society, and that of the slave that is given to Sarah on her 11th birthday. This is an unblinking portrait of actual slave life and the dilemma that the real person of Sarah Grimke had to face when she realized that she could not be part of the society- or the family - that treated human beings in such an inhuman way. It is fascinating, horrifying, terrifying and uplifting all at once. I’m still shaking my head at the bravery of the Grimke sisters. An incredibly well-told tale that you’ll not forget.55



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