The Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings Summary

The newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection: this special eBook edition of The Invention of Wingsby Sue Monk Kidd features exclusive content, including Oprah’s personal notes highlighted within the text, and a reading group guide.
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.

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.

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Book Reviews


The Invention of Wings4 star

The novel amazed me with the authors unique writing skills to amaze. Started off slow, but as I went deeper I couldn’t put it down. Also felt the ending was rushed, other than that pretty good.45


Medford, Oregon5 star

I like the idea of the writer being inspired by real-life people! I learned more about the beginnings of abolitionIsts; I wanted the story to move faster and Handful & Charlotte to be freed sooner... but Sue had other ideas which made the story even more a mystery. Very good; I enjoyed the book very much!55


Fabulous!5 star

Historical fiction at its best55


Unbelievable!5 star

This is Sue Kid Monks BEST book yet! You will be enraptured by the narratives raw graphic and devastating abuse and violence but so inspired and uplifted by the bravery courage and compassion that two sisters who fought for abolition equality and women’s rights55

a book loving cat

Hi5 star



Very good5 star

I like this author. Solid.55


The Invention of Wings5 star

Truly enjoyed this. Could not put it down plus I learned some history.55


The best book I have read in a long time5 star

I was captivated by this book right away. It's been a while since I found a book I enjoyed and this book helped me find my love for reading again. I read the book in two days.55


A Chapter of History Brought to Life5 star

I was moved and enthralled by this story of the enslaved women whose strong spirits overcame degradation and the daughters of a privileged household who were moved by their plight to acts of courage and sacrifice. You will not easily forget Sarah Grimke and her sister, nor the slave Hetty, whose mother gave her a legacy that would make her proud to be who she was.55


Stars for the version, not the book3 star

Make sure you want Oprah's thoughts on this book before you buy this version. Large passages are highlighted in purple with green "O"s following. I am unable to select anything within these highlighted passages without jumping to Oprah's endnote. I made it to page five of this madness and am buying the non-Oprah version.35

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