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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 ofThe 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.


  • 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.

  • Karey McCarley

    I had already read this book but liked it so much I wanted to hear it. Was not disappointed. I always hear new things when I do listen after reading first.

  • Kasia Bennett

    Good book, brutally truthful about the life of slaves and the shameful behavior of southern slave holders. Not crazy about the narration.

  • silvia hubbard

    I really loved this book, it really makes you think of the power in within ourselves to over most of what life hands us. Sometimes just being alive to make daily choices we all we have based on the lot given to us at birth!

  • Gayle martyn

    I hated to finish this good! Inspirational and informational. I have take so much of my freedom for granted. This awakened me!

  • Kristi Sprague

    In the beginning of the book, I wasn't connecting with the characters. But, with time, I was glued to the story and listening whenever I could. This was a wonderful work of historical fiction based on the real lives of two sisters. The narrator was easy to listen to and brought the story to life. This has been my first Audiobook experience. I'll try another, for sure!