Monday, May 12, 2014

The Invention of Wings

For my latest read I turned once again to the NY Times Best Seller list. I like to be current, you know. No one ever really asks me about the books I’ve read but if they did, these would be the ones they bring up. Although there are often things on that list that don’t belong there. I won’t name names. You know who you are. I have read and liked other things from Sue Monk Kidd (Secret Life of Bees most notably) so I thought I’d check this one out. I didn’t even have to wait on the hold list very long. How do you like that?
Good Reads’ Synopsis: "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."

What I Thought: I really enjoyed this even though the historical fiction snuck up on me. That’s okay. Historical fiction has its time and place. I really liked what Kidd did with the juxtaposition of Sarah and Handful. What intriguing characters! It also made me want to visit the south in the 1800’s. Not for the slavery part. That was no good. Just for the southern charm and old world Charleston. The imagery in this was beautiful as well, even when the scenes were not so beautiful, I still wanted to soak in every detail. Check this one out for yourself!

Rating: * * * ½

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