I received an email promoting this book, The Invention of Wings. It is written by Sue Monk Kidd, the author of The Secret Life of Bees, which I loved. Once I read the description of her new book, I purchased it immediately (again, I always fall for those email and TV promotions!).
The Invention of Wings is a wonderful book. It is written from the voices of two women, Handful and Sarah. Sarah is the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and Handful is the slave who was given to Sarah when she was 11 years old as a gift. It is amazing to hear both voices and you will be moved hearing of their unlikely friendship and hardships.
On a side note, Sarah Grimke is not a fictional person (although the book is a work of fiction, based on true facts). Her and her sister, Angelina, spoke out in the 1800’s against slavery and were the first women abolitionists. They were truly amazing women who were lost in history and not well-known at all. Sue Monk Kidd does an amazing job bringing life into the history she uncovered regarding these incredible sisters.
I loved this book.
Goodreads describes the book:
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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