Exchange ideas, connect with like-minded people, and participate in engaging discussions and book reviews at our free virtual monthly Book Club. Gatherings include a presentation with PowerPoint/visuals, along with smaller group discussions in Zoom breakout rooms. Book reviewer: Beverley Fingerhut
The Invention of Wings
Written by Sue Monk Kidd
The Invention of Wings, a powerful and sweeping historical novel, begins fittingly with an image of flight: Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early 19th century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. She recalls the night her mother told her that her ancestors in Africa could fly over trees and clouds, and gave her the gift of hope – the possibility that someday she might regain her wings and fly to freedom. Throughout the story, Handful struggles, sometimes with quiet dissidence, sometimes with open rebellion, to cultivate a belief in the invincibility of her spirit and in the sacred truth that one does not need actual wings in order to rise.
Barely a stone’s throw from the slave quarters where Handful and her mother share a room behind the grand Grimké house, another young woman fights a different battle with the constraints of her society. Sarah Grimké is the middle daughter of a wealthy and prominent family at the pinnacle of Charleston’s social hierarchy. On Sarah’s eleventh birthday, 10- ten-year-old Handful is abruptly pulled from the Grimkés’ work yard, adorned in lavender ribbons, and presented to Sarah as a gift. Sarah is unable to abide the oppression and brutality of the slave system that surrounds her, and tries in vain to decline. Crushed by the strictures that her family and society impose on women, Sarah forges a tortuous yet brave path toward abolition and women’s rights-a crusade, and over time, Sarah and Handful create a bond that will ultimately and dramatically shape their destinies. Inspired by actual historical figures like Sarah and Angelina Grimké and Denmark Vesey, The Invention of Wings is the extraordinary story of two struggles for freedom: the battle of Handful to find the wings her mother promised, and the equally intense quest of Sarah to liberate her mind and spirit.
Notes: Live’ monthly Zoom event + recording will be On Demand for 2 weeks