The Invention of Wings

Front Cover
Thorndike Press, 2014 - Fiction - 651 pages
1772 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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Love the writing: the imagery and the metaphors. - LibraryThing
I found the ending extremely abrupt. - LibraryThing
Great character development and very moving... - LibraryThing
Her intense research was obvious in the telling. - LibraryThing
Forgiveness was not one of her main attributes. - LibraryThing
This was a page turner and I couldn't put it down. - LibraryThing

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User Review  - ChristineEllei - LibraryThing

On the occasion of her eleventh birthday Sarah Grimke was given a special (in her mother’s eyes) gift … she was gifted with 10 year-old Hetty – her own slave. Sarah was already the outcast in the ... Read full review

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User Review  - GrlIntrrptdRdng - LibraryThing

Kind of disappointed by this book. It started off with so much promise and I kept expecting it to get better, but it never really did. I felt like not enough time was spent showing the interactions ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

Sue Monk Kidd was born in Sylvester, Georgia on August 12, 1948. She received a B.S. in nursing from Texas Christian University in 1970 and worked throughout her twenties as a registered nurse and college nursing instructor. She got her start in writing at the age of 30 when a personal essay she wrote for a writing class was published in Guideposts and reprinted in Reader's Digest. She went on to become a contributing editor at Guideposts and a freelancer. She primarily writes non-fiction, but is best known for her novel, The Secret Life of Bees, which won the 2004 Book Sense Paperback book of the Year. The book was made into a movie in 2008. Her other works include God's Joyful Surprise, When the Heart Waits, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Firstlight, and Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story. The Mermaid Chair won the 2005 Quill Award for General Fiction and was adapted into a television movie by Lifetime. Sue's title, The Invention of Wings, was selected as the Oprah Book Club 2.0 read in January, 2014. This title also made The New York Times Best Seller List.

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