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The Invention of Wings: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By:

Narrated By: Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Date: January 2014

Duration: 13 hours 45 minutes


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.


  • Bailey Mays

    Such a great read! You won't regret it. Sue Monk Kidd is an excellent writer that does not disappoint. I only wish the book had been longer. :)

  • Bailey Mays

    Such a great read! You won't regret it. Sue Monk Kidd is an excellent writer that does not disappoint. I only wish the book had been longer. :)

  • Marah Walsh

    I think the narrator played a role in why I liked this book so much. They were both excellent and helped the characters come alive in this audio version. This historical fiction book was compelling in many ways. I enjoyed following the development of the slave, Handful, and the Grimke girl's story and seeing their strength develop during that time in our history. It is nice to see strong women characters. A must read - and listen!

  • michaela lang

    Glad i read this book. It gave me a better understanding of the times of slavery and the early abolition and women's rights movements. It's extremely well researched and written. And the narration was very well done with both a black and a white voice for the two main characters. I highly recommend it.

  • Mary Green

    Historical fiction is probably my favorite genre, and Sue Monk Kidd does not disappoint with this book. The author depicts an historically accurate antebellum south without romantacizing life in these times. The narration of this book was outstanding as well. I never learned of the Grimke sisters in history class, and it's unlikely their impact on the abolition and equality will ever be presented in the classroom. Thank you, Sue Monk Kidd, for the rich history lesson from both perspectives.

  • Minda Gold

    Wonderfully written and loved the different voices of the characters. Great piece of historical fiction expanding my knowledge about two empowered sisters and their impact on the abolitionist movement. Strongly recommend!

  • Anonymous

    Best book ever....I enjoyed every disk....a must for everyone!

  • Whitney Miller

    This was a great book to listen to. Narration was on point.

  • Morag Bradie

    Loved the story which only got better as it went on. Similar re the narrator. Didn't like the voice (of Sarah) at first but it grew on me as her character developed. Definitely worth it.

  • Teri Chambers

    Eyeopening book about the disgrace of slavery. Hard to get into the mindset of owning any individual as a piece of property.....shameful.