The Invention of Wings

Front Cover
Penguin Group USA, 2014 - FICTION - 373 pages
622 Reviews
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.

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I just thought the writing and storytelling was superb. - Goodreads
Important subject matter, but unoriginal plot. - Goodreads
The writing and layout made it so easy to read. - Goodreads
Beautifully researched. - Goodreads
I loved this book, until the ending. - Goodreads
The portrayal of slavery is graphic. - Goodreads

Review: The Invention of Wings

User Review  - Charlyne - Goodreads

I love the format of this book: the chapters that alternate between the slave and the young woman of the slave-holding family and the way the stories intertwine and complement each other. I also love ... Read full review

Review: The Invention of Wings

User Review  - Lisa - Goodreads

I listened to this book I'm Audio form - it is a story based on two real characters. The narration was wonderful, the pain heartfelt - I practically felt like a fly on the wall through all the trials ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

Sue Monk Kidd is the award-winning and bestselling author of the novels The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs, including the New York Times bestseller Traveling with Pomegranates, written with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. She lives in Florida.

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