The Invention of Wings

Kidd, Sue Monk

(Book - 2014)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Invention of Wings
"The story follows Hetty "Handful" Grimke, a Charleston slave, and Sarah, the daughter of the wealthy Grimke family. The novel begins on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership over Handful, who is to be her handmaid. "The Invention of Wings" follows the next thirty-five years of their lives. Inspired in part by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke (a feminist, suffragist and, importantly, an abolitionist), Kidd allows herself to go beyond the record to flesh out the inner lives of all the characters, both real and imagined"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Viking,, 2014
ISBN: 9780670024780
Characteristics: 373 pages ; 25 cm


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November 2015

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Mar 05, 2015
  • lbarkema rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoy and respect the message that this book brings across about women's lives in the early 19th century, and I think it is fascinating that some characters are based in fact, and for that it gets a 3.5. But for enjoyment purposes, it moved really slowly and there wasn't much of a plot even, and so I just couldn't love it. I seem to be in the minority with this book on just thinking it's "ok", so I would probably still recommend it.

Mar 01, 2015
  • rmc63 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

fiction based on historical fact -great read; subject: slavery and women's rights.
Author redeemed -did not at all like 'Traveling with Pomegranates'.

Feb 24, 2015

Enjoyed this book. About first American feminists and the beginning protests against slavary and the conflict between the two.

Jan 22, 2015
  • KateHillier rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I actually enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to. I tend to shy away from this kind of story for one reason or another but I'm glad that I did give this one a chance. It's a hard story for obvious reasons (slavery is awful, punishment is awful, terrible things happening is awful) but there's also a large measure of hope and fight here. Both Handful and Sarah are fighters and manage to persevere and flourish despite their situations and environments. Handful puts it best when she says that her mind is free despite her body being a slave while Sarah is the reverse. I also didn't realise that this was based on a real person as well so that put into perspective a bit as well.

There also some wonderful turns of phrase in this book. Some internal remark of Handful's or Sarah's that make you smile even when the situation really shouldn't. There's also a good brush of black humour here too and the writing is quite engaging.

Jan 04, 2015
  • Sanrin rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Well written, but overwhelmed by 21st-century sensibilities in 19th-century characters. After a while, the characters no longer seemed credible to me.

Dec 29, 2014
  • lairsho52 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Absolutely riveting read!

Nov 18, 2014

can you please email when the book is available @ burns.desiree@yahoo.com

Nov 09, 2014
  • LaughingOne rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Sue Monk Kidd has outdone herself. Author of “The Secret Life of Bees” and “The Mermaid’s Chair”, Kidd has written a novel about Sarah and Angelina Grimke and their work to end slavery. The novel is also about two of the slaves in the Grimke household, Charlotte and her daughter Hettie (Handful). The Author’s Note at the end of the book lets us know that most of the novel is based on historical fact; in my opinion, that makes the book even stronger. Sarah does not fit the image of a proper girl in Charleston: she wants to be a lawyer like her father and two brothers, she does not want to own the slave that is given to her on her 11th birthday (Hettie). Read this novel to see what all happens to all these women, as well as the abolitionist movement, with its Quaker involvement, the early days of the suffrage movement in the US, and much more. Even though I knew about the Grimke sisters and much of what they had done, I could not put this novel down. I lived with them vicariously and cried and rejoiced with them. This is definitely one of my favourite reads.

Nov 05, 2014

Jumping back and forth between the two main characters thoughts was, at first, disruptive because the chapters are quite short but, the story line which describes the physical restrictions and social expectations of several women on a southern plantation and their moral and ethical beliefs, successfully pulls in the reader with their life's directions despite injury and death.

Oct 14, 2014
  • 21221018293347 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Great novel of an interesting time in history. Ms. Kidd weaves an intricate story. What amazed me was the author's notes at the end of the book, the resources and research that she had done. The story is based on the lives of the two Grimke sisters. Marvellous the story quilts made by Handful and her mother.

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Jun 21, 2014




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