From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent 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—and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection. 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. ...
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Fascinating, eloquent, and truly inspiring, Sue Monk Kidd’s third novel reimagines the remarkable lives of real-life American abolitionist Sarah Grimké and her sharp-witted childhood handmaid, Hetty. The author of The Secret Life of Bees vividly depicts the injustices of life in antebellum Charleston—the cruelty of slavery and inequality of the sexes—and leaves you in awe of her protagonists’ tremendous courage and compassion in speaking up and helping alter the fate of our nation.
Kidd's novel spans more than three decades and follows the lives of "Handful" a 10-year-old slave living in Charleston in the early 19th-century with the Grimk family and Sarah Grimk the remarkable daughter of the house, whom, on her 11th birthday, is given Handful as a gift. Oduye and Lamia share the narration in this audio edition, with the former reading Handful's sections of the book and the latter handling Sarah's. Oduye skillfully captures the essence of Handful. Her pacing, tone, and annunciation are just right, and the southern accent she reads with pitch perfect. Lamia turns in an equally enjoyable performance. Her airy narration, steady pacing, and southern accent more than do justice to Sarah. Fans of Kidd's novel will be delighted. A Viking hardcover.
The invention of wings
Excellent blend of fiction and non-fiction. I love books that teach as well as captivate and this one does just that!
It was a good story, I now want to learn more about Sarah.
When the Secret Life of Bees was published and earned immediate praise from one and all, I purchased and read it immediately and found myself disappointed. At the time, I blamed my disappointment on high expectations and the fact that I opened the book soon after reading one of my favorite books of all time.....the comparison was not favorable. When the Invention of Wings was released, I found myself eager to give Ms. Kidd a second chance, particularly given the various accolades the book received. Unfortunately, I was bored.....bored by the lack of plot and the unsympathetic characters. I made myself finish the novel but I found it impossible to care what happened to either of the protagonists.