The Invention of Wings

By Sue Monk Kidd,

Book cover of The Invention of Wings

Book description

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees and the forthcoming novel The Book of Longings, a 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…


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Why read it?

4 authors picked The Invention of Wings as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I think of this novel as a prequel of sorts to my own book, because it is inspired by the life of Sarah Grimke, another abolitionist and pioneer of women’s rights who, along with her sister Angelina, was an idol of Lucy Stone’s. The book opens on Sarah’s 11th birthday when she is gifted a slave, "Handful,” a gift she has no interest in keeping. Kidd makes the courageous choice to tell the story from both Handful’s and Sarah’s perspective, giving us very different views of pre-Civil War life in Charleston and what it takes to defy the…

From Katherine's list on the real lives of kick-ass women.

The Invention of Wings is set in the early 19th century and tells the story of a young white woman who helps her personal slave escape to freedom. It has several themes that are comparable to my novel: an unlikely, interracial, and sacred friendship; male domination; and the courage to chase a dream that will benefit others. Both books rely on alternating narratives: mine switches back and forth in time, and Kidd’s alternates between narrators. Both novels also invoke the power of spiritual lore. Kidd introduces the myth of the spirit tree while mine revolves around the grizzly bear…

Set in America’s deep south in the nineteenth century, it’s a story about courage, friendship against all odds, and love. Sarah is given a little slave girl for her eleventh birthday. Unable to accept the inhumanity of the cruel culture in which she lives, she sets out to change it – and in so doing unleashes a whole heap of trouble. I love this book for the writing, it’s like poetry; flowing, lyrical, and as beautiful as light. It’s the most touching story. I cried various times because I was so moved. It also helped me learn about and understand…

From Santa's list on love at their core.

This riveting novel, inspired by the true stories of the Grimke sisters, women who dedicated themselves to the Abolitionist fervor, specifically Sarah, also fleshes out through fiction the full-bodied reality of the role of women in 1800 culture and the plight of slaves. This is an exquisitely written novel that offers an unswerving view of a terrible aspect of American history, whose repercussions haunt us still. It is a view seen through “women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.”

From Diane's list on little-known Civil War era history.

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