This month we read The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
(Published January 2014, 373 pages)
Hosted by Tricia Gadberry
Book it Sisters’ Grade: A-
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.
Here is our review:
|Judy Bush||A-||I enjoyed the ifirst half of the book the most. The characters were well developed and the time period well described. The book slowed down for me towards the end, after the author started to stay closer to the true life of the Grimke sisters. I thought some of the enjoyment of the fiction went away when it became more historical.|
|Janet Maisel||B+||good book, especially historical fiction
|Mary Halsey||A||I love historical novels. The Grimke sisters were ahead of their times and improved women's lives ever since. Handful was a delightful addition because although there is nothing written about her, she was historically true to her time. Great character development. I look forward to reading more from this author!|
|Tricia Gadberry||A||I didn't realize at the beginning of the book that this was based on true people and events. I enjoyed learning about that. It was very well written and the theme of being free - no matter what the person's situation was - was very enlightening.|
|Suzanne Rigby||B||I thought this book was well written, as I always enjoy Susan Monk Kidd's novels. The interplay between Handful and Sarah as their lives entertwined was the best part of the book for me. As they both found their wings to flee from their physical and social restraints. I too enjoy historical fiction and learning about these brave women.
|Denise Link||A-||I felt the book was well written. The portrayal of the South, slavery and the will for freedom was a driving force that made it hard to put the book down at times. It was especially interesting to see the impact 2 valiant sisters made in their crusade against slavery.|
|Cheryl Clowes||A|| I enjoyed the book tremendously. I found myself wanting to know what would happen next, but almost afraid for the characters. The characters were so well developed, complex and flawed, that they felt alive. I am so glad to be a woman in this century!
|Nina Yatsko||B+||I enjoyed learning about the Grimke sisters in this book. This is the third book I have read by this author and I do love her writing. I still think I favored the "secret life of bees" to this, but both books are very good. This book makes you pause and feel grateful for things we take for granted everyday, such as reading and learning and intellectual freedom.|