Monday, December 16, 2013

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

*Many thanks to Penguin Group/Viking and Net Galley for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.*

Book synopsis(via Goodreads):

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.

This insomniac's opinion:

 Oh, how I adored this novel. It is written with such honesty and manages to be languid and gripping and horrific and wonderful all in the scope of the same novel. The character's are both loveable and hateable. This was not an easy read by any means- it is painful to read at times, made even more painful by the knowledge that events similar to these actually happened in this country. The relationship between Handful and Sarah is not saccharine sweet, but a much more believable kinship and I was rooting for their friendship from the very beginning.  I was so involved in the novel that I found myself speaking aloud, telling the character's the secrets that they did not yet know.

 An impeccable read from Sue Monk Kidd.

Worth staying up all night to read?



5 stars

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