I love Sue Monk Kidd and have read all her earlier works and so when I heard she had a new book out, I thought yay!! Good stuff. BUT, I wasn’t prepared for the beauty and the magic of The Invention of Wings. Just beauty.
From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a #1 New York Times bestselling 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.
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.
First off, I must start with the fact that I loved this cover and the fact that when you start to read about Hetty, you will see how the image on the cover totally resembles her. I totally judge a book by its cover and this would have piqued my interest even if I did not love the author.
My other overarching thought was how this book has such beautiful imagery, it must be converted into a movie or a series for TV. It simply must for the following reasons:
I mean if all these Vampire things can be adapted, why not such a beautiful story?
Without spoiling too much, quilting and dressmaking is a central theme in the story which I would love to see on screen.
Although painful, I would also like to see how they stage the beatings and the diverse relationships between the slaves and the relationship between them and their Owners.
Sarah is also a pivotal character and I would love to see who is cast to portray her and then how she develops over time.
All in all, the language was beautiful and it told a very emotional topic in a nuanced and sensitive manner which appealed to me greatly. I found out at the end that it was based on a historical figure, Sarah Grimke, and was slightly embellished. It was the best piece of writing on feminism that I have come across in a loooong long time.
I would definitely recommend this book as well as watch the movie when it comes out.