Monday, February 3, 2014

The Invention of Wings (Sue Monk Kidd)

Author Sue Monk Kidd is definitely not riding the coattails of her phenomenally successful The Secret Life of Bees.  Instead, she has written an extremely well-researched historical fiction novel chosen by Oprah's book club, no less (of course, that makes it an instant bestseller).  Still set in the south like TSLOB, The Invention of Wings takes place in the early 1800s, when slavery was widely rearing its ugly head and abolition started to gain serious ground.

One birthday, Sarah Grimke, the young daughter of an extremely wealthy Charleston plantation owner, is given her own slave (Handful) for a "present."  Sarah would much rather Handful be her friend, but her parents are insistent.  Thus begins the relationship between Sarah and Handful, the first who would go on (along with her sister) to be a staunch abolitionist, and the latter willing to do anything to be in control of her own life.  A supporting cast of characters adds much to the narrative that is so truly hard to read at times.  To Kidd's credit, she in no way glosses over anything related to this tragic time in our history.

Goodreads tells me that I began reading this novel on November 30, 2013, and I did not finish it until last night (February 2, 2014).  It's not that The Invention of Wings is that long, but the prose is so beautiful that you definitely want to take your time with it.  I'm sure this will be just as successful as The Secret Life of Bees.