The Invention of Wings

Book Review | The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd


Finishing a book, or even starting or reading a page of one is a rare luxury these days but one I DO enjoy, so I will plod on  s l o w l y lol.

This is a book I really wanted to finish sooner, I never wanted to put it down at the end of the night when my eyelids got too heavy.  It is a beautiful book dealing with one of the most grotesque abominations of human history; slavery.

Written in two parallel but decidedly unequal voices, The Invention of Wings introduces Sarah Grimke, from a wealthy, white, slave-owning family in Charleston SC and the slave she was given as a ‘gift’ on her tenth birthday, Hetty known as “Handful”.

I was naively unaware whilst I was reading, that although a work of fiction, The Invention of Wings is based on historical facts. The Grimke sisters Angelina and Sarah were hugely influential abolitionists and early feminist authors and Hetty was indeed a slave owned by the Grimke family.

One of Monk Kidd’s successes with this novel is surely the disparate nature of the two main characters and the dance between them as they both grow into strong, admirable women.  Each of the main female voices is archetypical of her inherited place in the society of the day, but neither Sarah nor Handful is willing to settle into the life ordained for her by her birth.

This is a novel that doesn’t shy away from the horror of life lived as a slave but it also bows to the beauty of human relationships that can altogether save a tortured soul.  I loved every page of The Invention of Wings and will be looking to read more by Sue Monk Kidd.