Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Review: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

When Sarah Grimke turns 11 years old, her mother gives her a very special birthday gift: her very own slave, 10 year-old Handful. But Sarah is an unusual Southern girl who abhors slavery, even at her young age. She tries to refuse the gift, but her mother forces her to accept it. So she takes Handful as her handmaid, and they form a unique relationship that lasts a lifetime.

In The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd tells the story of these two fascinating women by alternating between their voices; each chapter is from one perspective and they alternate throughout the book. Each woman longs to break free of the societal boundaries that hold her. Handful wants to be free of slavery, of course. But Sarah also desires to be free of what binds her. She has always wanted to do more than find a husband and run a household. She wants to be educated and have a profession, as only men do in the early 1800's.

Kidd does an amazing job of showing the realities of the boundaries that women and slaves faced at this time, and the way the real Sarah Grimke, the inspiration for this novel, was moved to fight for abolition and women's rights. I loved the characters and relationships in this story. Each character's personality shone through, from Sarah and Handful, to their families and acquaintances. I also felt that Kidd's story seemed very real, showing the realities of the time, both good and bad, from two very different perspectives. The historical aspects were frustrating and sad. But overall, The Invention of Wings was an uplifting story.

I highly recommend this one, especially to those who enjoy historical fiction.

My Rating: 5/5

Connect with Sue Monk Kidd on her website, Twitter and Facebook

This review was written based on a copy of The Invention of Wings that I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I've been hearing great things about this book and heard a very interesting interview with Sue Monk Kidd on NPR Books podcast. Sounds good! I shared the link to your review with my mom because she told me she wants to read it, too.


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    1. I hope she reads it. It was excellent. And I'm excited to go see Sue Monk Kidd speak tonight at Meredith College!


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