Oh my. This is a book I can hardly do justice to. It will truly be on my “Best of 2014” list this year!
I loved Sue Monk Kidd’s THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES (and I enjoyed her other two books as well), so I was very excited to get an ARC of her new publication THE INVENTION OF WINGS from Net Galley.
This historical novel tells the story of Sarah Grimké, a young girl of Charleston, SC. Starting in the 1830’s. Sarah receives a personal slave, a young girl named Handful (Hetty), as a gift for her eleventh birthday, and upsets her parents by trying to grant her her freedom. Young Sarah dreams of being a lawyer. Plain and intelligent, she doesn’t fit with the Southern belles of her peer group. She forms a friendship with Handful and almost immediately gets them both into serious trouble when she teaches Handful to read. The story follows Sarah, and Handful, as they grow up and become adults. Sarah evolves (along with her younger sister Angelina) into a passionate abolitionist and worker for women’s rights. Handful and her mother dream of one day being free.
While I loved this story, I was absolutely amazed to discover that Sarah Grimké and her sister Angelina were real people and that Sue Monk Kidd had based her novel on historical facts. How had I never heard of them?? This is a story that must be told. If you enjoy historical fiction, women’s studies, Civil War genre, and/or basically strong female protagonists who are based in reality, then you will enjoy this well-written and well-researched book.
Do yourself a favor and read this book!
Thanks, Net Galley and Viking, for my copy! Looks like it’s a pick for Oprah’s Book Club, too.