What I’m Reading: The Invention of Wings

I finished up listening to the audio book The Invention of Wings by  Sue Monk Kidd.  This book had come up in suggested books for me for a long time.  I don’t know why I didn’t grab it up sooner…Maybe the over wasn’t overly appealing for me…I don’t know.

The cover to me gave me the impression that the book was contemporary and for the most part, I don’t read a lot of contemporary books unless they involve a crime…as I am writing this post I see that the same author wrote the book The Secret Life of Bees and I loved that book.  Had I seen that on the cover earlier, I would have snapped this book up sooner.

Regardless of if I read it earlier or if I read it now, I was well worth my time.  I really did find the book interesting.  I almost said I enjoyed the book but that’s not the right word.  The book covers the topic of slavery and that is never a topic to “enjoy”.  This happens pre-civil war in the earlier 1800s.  The book is based on facts but isn’t non-fiction.

Here’s what Amazon had to say,From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a #1 New York Times bestselling 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.

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.”

Amazon readers give the book 4.6 stars.  I’d say that is a fair assessment.  I liked the book.  I liked learning about the real life people Sarah  Grimke.  She and her sister were unknowns to me and I appreciated learning more about them.  I love that the author added notes at the end telling what parts of the book were fact based.  If you’re looking for a good book, this one is worth considering.

2 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: The Invention of Wings

  1. Laura

    I liked this book too. Listened to it many months ago, but it did not stick with me, so I’d have to give it a 3.8. I liked The Kitchen House better.

    I just finished listening to A Little Life which was so long and sad that I almost had to put it down. I kept hoping for a happy ending, and pushed on through it. I’m glad I finished it because the characters were so real, I felt like I knew them. That hardly ever happens when I listen to books where the main characters are men.

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