Friday, May 1, 2015
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. - Penguin
A few months ago, I reviewed the audiobook version of THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd. O Magazine called this book “a conversation changer,” and USA Today called “a searing and soaring story.” With those raving reviews, it probably doesn't really matter what I thought; however, I do share their sentiments! THE INVENTION OF WINGS was historical fiction at its best -- of course, it didn't hurt that I love this time period. Ms. Kidd's writing was once again stellar, and I loved how she merged fact with fiction to create an intriguing and touching story.
One of the things that really stood out to me about THE INVENTION OF WINGS was how perfect it would be for book clubs. There is a great book club kit available with a Q&A with the author, recipes and cocktails, further reading suggestions, and more! There is also a reading guide with questions here. There truly is so much to explore in this novel and I can't recommend it enough for book clubs who appreciate literary and/or historical fiction.
If you are interested in learning more about THE INVENTION OF WINGS, you can visit the book's website or listen to an audiobook clip.
I have a copy of the new paperback release of THE INVENTION OF WINGS to share with one lucky reader courtesy of the publisher. To enter, just fill out the form below before May 11th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!