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Synopsis

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.

Please note there is another digital edition available featuring notes by Oprah Winfrey.

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    The Invention of Wings

    Beautifully written, heart wrenching story.

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    This was a great read! I loved the parallels between the two main characters. I couldn't put the book down as I wanted to see what was going to happen next and was a little sad when it ended. Thought provoking & emotional at times as it is anguishing to know people were treated so badly.

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    A great story!

    I loved this book. It was not only a great story but also the history behind it was enlightening. It shows that even today there are problems with the black population that continue to exist. Racial biases continue. Women continue to be suppressed. It is hard to imagine if equality will ever come. I recommend this book.

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    Great Read

    I am a fan of Sue Monk Kidd's books. I think this May be one of her best. I could not put it down. I highly recommend this book.

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    The Invention of Wings

    If you were moved by 12 Years a Slave, this book will also leave you speechless.

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